Paladin Class Preview

Monday, May 7, 2018

All it takes is a cursory browse of the Paizo forums to see that paladins are not just the most contentious class in Pathfinder, they are the most contentious conversation topic. Weeks before we previewed the class, multiple threads with thousands of posts arose in advance, filled with passionate fans with many different opinions and plenty of good ideas. Turns out, the Paizo office isn't too different.

The Quest for the Holy Grail

Early last year, I went on a sacred quest through the office and surveyed all the different opinions out there about paladins. Turns out, almost everyone had slightly different thoughts. But there was one element in common: whether they wanted paladins of all alignments, paladins of the four extreme alignments, lawful good paladins and chaotic evil antipaladins, lawful evil tyrant antipaladins, or even just lawful good paladins alone, everyone was interested in robust support for the idea that paladins should be champions of their deity and alignment. That is to say, whatever alignments paladins have, they should have an array of abilities deeply tied into that alignment.

Since that was the aspect of the paladin that everyone agreed upon, that's what we wanted to make sure we got right in the playtest. But given the limited space for the playtest, we chose to focus on getting that aspect fine-tuned for one alignment, and so in this book we're presenting only lawful good paladins. That doesn't mean antipaladins and tyrants are gone (there's even an antipaladin foe in one of the adventures!) or that the door is closed to other sorts of paladins down the road. We'll have a playtest survey on the matter, we're open to more opinions, and even among the four designers we have different ideas. But we want to focus the playtest on getting lawful good paladins right, first and foremost. If or when we do make more paladins and antipaladins, having constructed a solid foundation for how an alignment-driven champion functions will be a crucial step to making all of them engaging and different in play.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

The Code

Tell me if you've heard this one before: My paladin was brought to a court where she was forced to testify under oath to tell the whole truth, by a legitimate authority, about the whereabouts of certain innocent witnesses, but she knows that if she answers the questions, a villain is going to use that information to track down and harm the innocents. It's the "Inquiring Murderer" quandary from moral philosophy set in a way that manages to pin you between not just two but three different restrictions in the old paladin code. Sure, I can beg and plead with the judge that the information, if released, would harm innocents, but ultimately if the judge persists, I'm in trouble. These sorts of situations are some of the most common paladin threads on the forums, and they're never easy.

With the playtest presenting the opportunity, I wanted to analyze the paladin's code down to basic principles and keep all the important roleplaying aspects that make paladins the trustworthy champions of law and good we've come to expect while drastically reducing, and hopefully eliminating, the no-win situations. Here's what it looks like at the moment.

Code of Conduct

Paladins are divine champions of a deity. You must be lawful good and worship a deity that allows lawful good clerics. Actions fundamentally opposed to your deity's alignment or ideals are anathema to your faith. A few examples of acts that would be considered anathema appear in each deity's entry. You and your GM will determine whether other acts count as anathema.

In addition, you must follow the paladin's code below. Deities often add additional strictures for their own paladins (for instance, Shelyn's paladins never attack first except to protect an innocent, and they choose and perfect an art).

If you stray from lawful good, perform acts anathema to your deity, or violate your code of conduct, you lose your Spell Point pool and righteous ally class feature (which we talk more about below) until you demonstrate your repentance by conducting an atone ritual, but you keep any other paladin abilities that don't require those class features.

The Paladin's Code

The following is the fundamental code all paladins follow. The tenets are listed in order of importance, starting with the most important. If a situation places two tenets in conflict, you aren't in a no-win situation; instead, follow the most important tenet. For instance, if an evil king asked you if innocent lawbreakers were hiding in your church so he could execute them, you could lie to him, since the tenet forbidding you to lie is less important than the tenet prohibiting the harm of an innocent. An attempt to subvert the paladin code by engineering a situation allowing you to use a higher tenet to ignore a lower tenet (telling someone that you won't respect lawful authorities so that the tenet of not lying supersedes the tenet of respecting lawful authorities, for example) is a violation of the paladin code.

  • You must never willingly commit an evil act, such as murder, torture, or casting an evil spell.
  • You must not take actions that you know will harm an innocent, or through inaction cause an innocent to come to immediate harm when you knew your action could reasonably prevent it. This tenet doesn't force you to take action against possible harm to innocents or to sacrifice your life and future potential in an attempt to protect an innocent.
  • You must act with honor, never cheating, lying, or taking advantage of others.
  • You must respect the lawful authority of the legitimate ruler or leadership in whichever land you may be, following their laws unless they violate a higher tenet.

So let's break down what's the same and what's different. We still have all the basic tenets of the paladin from Pathfinder First Edition, with one exception: we've removed poison from the tenet of acting with honor. While there are certainly dishonorable ways to use poison, poisoning a weapon and using it in an honorable combat that allows enhanced weaponry doesn't seem much different than lighting the weapon on fire. However, by ordering the tenets and allowing the paladin to prioritize the most important tenets in the event of a conflict, we've cut down on the no-win situations. And of course, this opens a design space to play around with the tenets themselves, something we've done by incorporating one of the most popular non-core aspects for paladins...

Oaths

Oaths allow you to play around with the tenets of your code while also gaining mechanical advantages. For instance, the Fiendsbane Oath allows you to dish out near-constant retribution against fiends and eventually block their dimensional travel with an Anchoring Aura. Unlike in Pathfinder First Edition, oaths are feats, and you don't need an archetype to gain one.

Paladin Features

As many of you guessed when Jason mentioned it, paladin was the mystery class that gains the highest heavy armor proficiency, eventually reaching legendary proficiency in armor and master proficiency in weapons, as opposed to fighters, who gain the reverse. At 1st level, you also gain the Retributive Strike reaction, allowing you to counterattack and enfeeble any foe that hits one of your allies (Shelyn save those who strike your storm druid ally). You also get lay on hands, a single-action healing spell that not only heals the target but also raises their AC for a round to help prevent future damage. Combine that effect used on yourself with a raised shield, and you can make it pretty hard for a foe to hit you, and it helps recovering allies avoid another beating.

Lay on hands is the first of a paladin's champion powers, which include a whole bunch of elective options via feats. One of my favorites, gained automatically at 19th level, is hero's defiance, which makes a paladin incredibly difficult to take down. It lets you keep standing when you fall to 0 HP, gives you a big boost of Hit Points, and doesn't even use up your reaction! Leading up to that, you gain a bunch of fun smite-related boosts, including the righteous ally class feature that you saw mentioned in the code. This is a 3rd-level ability that lets you house a holy spirit in a weapon or a steed, much like before, but also in a shield, like the fan-favorite sacred shield archetype!

Paladin Feats

In addition to the oath feats I mentioned when talking about the code, paladins have feats customized to work with the various righteous ally options, like Second Ally, a level 8 feat that lets you gain a second righteous ally. There are also a variety of auras that you can gain to improve yourself and your allies, from the humble 4th-level Aura of Courage, which reduces the frightened condition for you when you gain it and at the end of your turn for you and your allies, to the mighty 14th-level Aura of Righteousness, which gives you and your allies resistance to evil damage. Feats that improve or alter your lay on hands include mercy feats, which allow you to remove harmful conditions and afflictions with lay on hands, up to and including death itself with Ultimate Mercy. And we can't forget potent additional reactions like Divine Grace, granting you a saving throw boost at 2nd level, and Attack of Opportunity at 6th level.

To close out, I'll tell you about one more popular non-core paladin ability we brought in, a special type of power called...

Litanies

Following their mold from Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Combat, litanies are single-action Verbal Casting spells that last 1 round and create various effects. For instance, litany of righteousness makes an enemy weak to your allies' attacks, and litany against sloth slows down an enemy, costing it reactions and potentially actions as well. One of the coolest story features of the litanies against sins is that they now explicitly work better against creatures strongly aligned with their sin, so a dretch (a.k.a. a sloth demon) or a sloth sinspawn treats its saving throw outcome for litany against sloth as one degree worse!

Just as a reminder to everyone, please be respectful to each other. Many of us have strong opinions about the paladin, and that's OK, even if we each have different feelings.

Mark Seifter
Designer

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Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

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Removed some posts and replies. Please find a way to express your opinions or feedback in a way that is not aggressively accusatory or telling other people what they think. Saying "you want this" "you think that" tends to derail a discussion into arguing. It can be helpful to phrase these thoughts using "I" statements. "When you say this, I feel like you mean..." "When I hear this, it sounds to me like..." This allows for everyone to work together towards a mutual understanding.

Shadow Lodge

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Serum wrote:
Say goodbye to archer paladins, Erastil: paladins are supposed to be on the front lines. I'm not necessarily opposed to this, but I hope that their innate abilities aren't shield focused, so that people don't feel punished for pursuing two-handed or two-weapon play-styles.

Huh? They get good armor stuff, but that all works in light armor, and we have absolutely no evidence anything else is restricted to melee. Heck, even Retributive Strike could be usable at range. We just don't know.

Really, their high armor proficiency levels are a bit wasted on archers, but that was true in PF1, and didn't stop archer Paladins, or even really slow them down.

That's fair. For some reason, I added "adjacent" all on my own.


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RickDias wrote:
HWalsh wrote:
Would you be willing to tell those players to shove off? To go away? They've been here supporting Paizo as long as any other players.

Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

And yes some more.

Literally the 'other side' of this is saying I must play a very specific alignment in order to have access to a fairly broad, interesting play-style. The reasoning for it, reasoning you presented, was decisions made by someone decades ago ('respect Gygax tradition' or something to that effect).

I'd like to think it's okay for a game to evolve decades later. To at least try and see if we can expand and have a new kind of fun.

A kind of fun that 5E tried and it didn't spontaneously combust in a blaze of anti-high-fantasy.

If someone is saying we shouldn't try something like this, that I should only be allowed access to that playstyle if I tailor it around a fairly specific personality set, then I will in fact take that confrontational option you've offered me re: tell them off.

I don't like people trying to limit my fun because Gygax.

Wanted to reply to this while rummaging through the thread looking at the responses because this one stuck out, alongside your other responses, and I think is a good springboard for discussing Paladin's and alignment and if nothing else bring a perspective from someone who is firmly in LG only Paladins, but not due to upholding antiquity but rather mythology and language.

First, Gygax may have coined the Roleplaying iteration of the Paladin, but he didn't deviate too far from what we understand Paladins to represent from historical mythology. They are knights beyond merely good, but legendary in honor, altruism and goodness. They follow a code of conduct that demands great personal sacrifice and self-control to uphold. Through Charlemagne or King Arthurs Court, these figures are the basis and pinnacle of the class. After-all, they are based heavily on the Twelve Apostles of Christ, it's why the Round and Court have Twelve central figures and one betrayer (The first Anti-Paladins). They are not normal knights, and quite frankly they shouldn't be.

This is why many players find the Paladin so vexing. I have many players that do not care for the alignment restriction either because they want to play the Paladin in a manner they see fit, CN, NG or LE. They also want to play the chassis of the class without the alignment or codes that come with the traditional Paladin. Thing is, that's the point. And as an illustrator of that point, we go to the Anti-Paladin.

Anti-Paladins have the chassis of a Paladin, and are not Lawful Good. Yet I also find that no one talks about any sort of restriction on the Anti-Paladin, when they are just as restrictive. If you complete any good act, you lose all your powers. You have to be the CE alignment, and no other alignment can be chosen as an Anti-Paladin. They are anathema to the Paladin, yet are just as restricted as they are both in play-style and lack of alignment choice. This (and this is where I will put emphasis) is because both of these classes require commitment.

Just like the historical Paladins, legendary figures of goodness, playing a Paladin isn't a players opportunity to enjoy the play-style with none of the consequences. Paladins are a commitment because they have always been a commitment. Paladins are alignment restricted because they are the paragons of someone who strives to uphold law and goodness and the paragons of nothing else, and have been since their inception. By comparison, "Wizard" is a role. "Fighter" is a role. "Rogue" is a role. "Paladin" is a title earned at a great cost, and I think that is where the hang-up and subsequent pushback to the class is.

Of course my perspective comes from literature, mythology and language, but if nothing else I hope it can shed some light on that perspective. I also hope that this can also be useful in articulating why Druids are bound to being neutral, why Barbarians are Non-Lawful and why Monks are Lawful. Because much like a Paladin, when you choose those classes you have to make a commitment. Just got to ask yourself if your willing to take it.


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Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
RickDias wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
In the face of this i kind of hope you find another game that fits your requirements,

Tempting. I hear WotC apparently wants my money now.

I was hoping the developers at Paizo would be bold enough to try some new design space on opening up this play-style to other alignments. I was hoping feedback over the last few weeks would help them mold the product in that direction.

It did not happen

It did happen. It just wasn’t the direction that your “feedback” suggested. Simple as that.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

Huh? They get good armor stuff, but that all works in light armor, and we have absolutely no evidence anything else is restricted to melee. Heck, even Retributive Strike could be usable at range. We just don't know.

Really, their high armor proficiency levels are a bit wasted on archers, but that was true in PF1, and didn't stop archer Paladins, or even really slow them down.

In PF1, fighters (who were then the masters of armor) could do archery fairly well in full plate via armor training and mithril armor. So it may be possible that, with appropriate investment, Paladins in PF2 can do something similar.


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Sorry if someone else mentioned this already... I don't have time to read 700+ posts right now.

One thing I noticed was blatantly missing from the Paladin preview: Absolutely NO MENTION of any detect Evil abilities. So... did they lose it entirely? Is it no longer usable at will? Has it been altered or changed significantly? (Not likely, or they'd have mentioned it.)

Paladins have been Detecting Evil at will since 1977 with the first AD&D Player's Handbook. So... what happened here? I don't mind that kind of change, but I'd like some acknowledgement to a change or removal of this previously inherent class ability.


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Quote:
If you stray from lawful good, perform acts anathema to your deity, or violate your code of conduct, you lose your Spell Point pool and righteous ally class feature

See, this always bugged me. If you don't act a certain way you become less, lose stuff, etc. I feel a Paladin fall should bring about a gradual change in abilities to reflect that. I mean look at your common "good guy goes bad" tropes - Anikan Skywalker didn't lose the abilities of a Jedi when he turned to the Sith or Arthas losing his abilities til after he gained Frostmourn, etc.

A Paladin falling should see a feature change, maybe his Lay on Hands hurt instead of heal, his spells can't fuel healing prayers but can be use for offensive powers, his righteous ally feature shifts, etc. I feel this better reflects the trope of falling from grace than just the faucet being turned off.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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Hey there all,

We knew the Paladin was going to be a bit contentious. The class has provoked strong emotions and discussion since the earliest days of gaming. In designing this class, we really had two routes we could take. Traditional, but very flavorful, or Reimagined, but ultimately more generic. I chose the former.

Now.. I know this is a playtest, and the point is to try out new things, but stripping that Paladin of this core piece of identity felt like changing what it was, making something else. I am fine with doing that through rules alterations and modifications, like archetypes, but it seems like we would lose something special if the class went away from its roots.

We knew this would not be popular with some. We knew the opposite would not be popular with others. Once this game is released, I would implore you to give it a closer look. We pushed for a paladin that best expresses its ideal form. If we can get that nailed down, the roadmap to champions of all flavors becomes a lot more clear.

Until then.. be kind to each other folks. We are all hear to tell stories and go on thrilling adventures. Nobody wants to fight their companions along the way.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Earthorn wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:
The REAL Paladins, those that had that title, were the Twelve Paladins/Palantines of Charlemagne, they were murderous psychopaths in the service of a fanatic, so do not try to pull the inspiration card, because I will go right back to the source: the guys who at Charlemagne's command, slit 4500 throats, by hand, in a day, at the Courts of Blood in the Saxon Wars, THAT is the 'hero' if you use that name, know exactly what it is, do NOT invoke Charlemagne's name without doing the research of exactly the kind of brutal maniac he was. The Title was earned through loyalty to the crown and joy and yes, skill in slaughter and ofc, victory and genocide, if you want to define historc Paladins as 'good', then 'good' becomes tearing a toddler from it's mothers arms to slit it's throat, then hers, for worshiping the wrong gods

Hey, maybe some WOULD see this as an inspiration for a "heroic' class.

I mean, their are those who want their character to to be able to slaughter an intelligent humanoid for being the wrong race (goblin).

it would be an interesting take, but holding that up as the Paragon is problematic at best (well outside of WoD Dark Ages games, and they are not the modern meaning of heroic)


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What's always bugged me about Paladins is they're so good focused with out any law focus (They have a bunch of pro-good and anti-evil abilities but no pro-law and anti-chaos abilities). So I've always just house ruled it that they can be any good as that's always been their focus.

That way I'd have Monks on the lawful side of things, Barabarians on the Chaotic side, Paladins on the good side, and Anti-Paladins on the evil side. With Druids in the middle so to speak. Thought that balanced out fairly nicely.

I'm not happy that in 2E they're prioritizing good over law for base Paladin's codes. It perpetuates the paradigm that it's all about good vs evil. With law vs chaos just being more of an after thought.

One of the few times I've played a Paladin there were two of us. When conflicts arose mine would come down on the law side of things (Lg) while the other focused more on the good side of it (lG). It made for some really awesome RP and character interaction.

Now with personal interpretation having been removed it seem like all moral conflict has been removed. With all their actions being pre-subscribed they'll all going to be kind of sameish with their non-choices.

Also not sure about having them tied to specific deities. I can see pros and cons for that. I did sometimes like that they could serve concepts rather then gods. Kind of imagined them like Jedi in that sort of way. /shrugs


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I know these changes or proposed changes to the Paladin is so divisive but I would of really wanted some more Dev input. It was nice to get some clarifications, more teases, and future insight from them. It was nice to read them from the other blogs.


Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Hey there all,

We knew the Paladin was going to be a bit contentious. The class has provoked strong emotions and discussion since the earliest days of gaming. In designing this class, we really had two routes we could take. Traditional, but very flavorful, or Reimagined, but ultimately more generic. I chose the former.

Now.. I know this is a playtest, and the point is to try out new things, but stripping that Paladin of this core piece of identity felt like changing what it was, making something else. I am fine with doing that through rules alterations and modifications, like archetypes, but it seems like we would lose something special if the class went away from its roots.

We knew this would not be popular with some. We knew the opposite would not be popular with others. Once this game is released, I would implore you to give it a closer look. We pushed for a paladin that best expresses its ideal form. If we can get that nailed down, the roadmap to champions of all flavors becomes a lot more clear.

Until then.. be kind to each other folks. We are all hear to tell stories and go on thrilling adventures. Nobody wants to fight their companions along the way.

100% agree. Really neat to have you there to defend these points.

Thank you so much for picking the former. Happy to see calls being made along these lines.


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I like what I see for the Paladin class so far! I'm also very happy that the paladin code has been given an order of precedence, with 'good' on top and 'laws of mortals' on the bottom. I've always believed that a religious lawful good type would care far more about his god's laws than the laws of whatever city he happens to be in, though he generally would be trying to follow good local laws anyway.

I like the focus on defense and the useage of spell-points rather than weak spellcasting. The only thing I'm not a fan of is having to use a reaction for Divine Grace.

I'm neutral on the subject of 'paladins of other alignments'. I can see a desire for Lawful Evil antipaladin types, but I don't even understand how neutral or chaotic paladins are even supposed to work. Paladins are all about following their gods laws to the absolute, but that theme gets weird with chaotic types.


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I would in every way prefer "holy champions of each god" to be an archetype for classes more fit to that particular god.

IE: A swashbuckler archetype for caiden A rogue archetype for norgorber, a mage archetype for nethys, barbarian archetype for rovagug, etc etc.


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Hey, guys.

Dividing the paladin into four distinct classes, each based on alignment, does two things:
1. It more firmly entrenches alignment, and interpretation of alignment, into the game.
2. It multiplies the development time for the length of 2e. These options each need support, and would for the lifetime of the product.

In short, this multiplies development time for everyone.

For warriors of faith, maybe it's better to use a more flexible system that they'd intended to expand anyway (cleric feats and domain themes), instead of four to five new options that are each going to need their areas of support and cost product development.

Why can't cleric, under the new system, offer:
A. Caster priest
B. War priest of different faiths?
C. A gish caster?

...out of the box?

Is there something in the new mechanics that suggests this wouldn't work? It looks to me at least, like it might.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Hey there all,

We knew the Paladin was going to be a bit contentious. The class has provoked strong emotions and discussion since the earliest days of gaming. In designing this class, we really had two routes we could take. Traditional, but very flavorful, or Reimagined, but ultimately more generic. I chose the former.

Now.. I know this is a playtest, and the point is to try out new things, but stripping that Paladin of this core piece of identity felt like changing what it was, making something else. I am fine with doing that through rules alterations and modifications, like archetypes, but it seems like we would lose something special if the class went away from its roots.

We knew this would not be popular with some. We knew the opposite would not be popular with others. Once this game is released, I would implore you to give it a closer look. We pushed for a paladin that best expresses its ideal form. If we can get that nailed down, the roadmap to champions of all flavors becomes a lot more clear.

Until then.. be kind to each other folks. We are all hear to tell stories and go on thrilling adventures. Nobody wants to fight their companions along the way.

I think you'll be able to satisfy the vast majority as long as you don't allow the paladin to clog its design space again. The paladin's themes are very broad and its ideology very narrow. If fun, flavorful, *effective* martial alternatives are created for principled warriors and champions of gods and protectors of the weak, the paladin will merely be a flavorful blend of those same ideas. If all we get are more Grey Paladins, the paladin will again be resented not for what it is but because of what it prevents.


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Arikiel wrote:

What's always bugged me about Paladins is they're so good focused with out any law focus (They have a bunch of pro-good and anti-evil abilities but no pro-law and anti-chaos abilities).

I'm not happy that in 2E they're prioritizing good over law for base Paladin's codes. It perpetuates the paradigm that it's all about good vs evil. With law vs chaos just being more of an after thought.

Yes, the Law/Chaos axis is just as important (even more important in D&D), paladins should be opposed to eladrins just as much devils. They should be able to detect and smite chaos.


Ryan Freire wrote:
I would in every way prefer "holy champions of each god" to be an archetype for classes more fit to that particular god.

That sounds like 2nd Ed AD&D Specialty Priests (which are seriously cool).

Paizo Employee Designer

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RickDias wrote:
Paizo can still win me back, but I want more than very vague 'maybe' thoughts about it. I want more than 'potential' (and I agree with Mark's statements that this PF2E Paladin, as described so far, has more potential to be adapted for other alignments than the PF1E one did). I need meaningful details on how they'll fix this gap in design space.

I'm responding to this post because it was memorable, but I've seen a lot of other people asking for this too, not just RickDias. But here's the thing: We simply can't do that. It wouldn't be fair to any of you to make future promises right now about what we're going to do because keeping those promises would prevent us from listening to all of you during the playtest and making decisions based on your feedback (or we'd have to break them, which is also really not a good thing to do). So instead, we're not going to make promises about the future because we want to let all of you help us steer the way and shape it.


Weather Report wrote:
Arikiel wrote:

What's always bugged me about Paladins is they're so good focused with out any law focus (They have a bunch of pro-good and anti-evil abilities but no pro-law and anti-chaos abilities).

I'm not happy that in 2E they're prioritizing good over law for base Paladin's codes. It perpetuates the paradigm that it's all about good vs evil. With law vs chaos just being more of an after thought.

Yes, the Law/Chaos axis is just as important (even more important in D&D), paladins should be opposed to eladrins just as much devils. They should be able to detect and smite chaos.

You can work with devils. At least they play by the rules. Unlike those flighty faerie types. Just have to be careful what kinds of treaties and contracts you make with them as they always try to slip something past you in the fine print.


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Arikiel wrote:
What's always bugged me about Paladins is they're so good focused with out any law focus (They have a bunch of pro-good and anti-evil abilities but no pro-law and anti-chaos abilities). So I've always just house ruled it that they can be any good as that's always been their focus.

I always felt the lawful part came from how tightly they were bound to their code. If you had a neutral or chaotic paladin (Chevalier, for example) they wouldn't be as bound to the code as the traditional variant.

The way the code now even has a tier of importance really drives that home for me, because that adds another level of Lawful to it. It's a very ordered, structured way of being, which to me is what Lawful exemplifies.


Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Hey there all,

We knew the Paladin was going to be a bit contentious. The class has provoked strong emotions and discussion since the earliest days of gaming. In designing this class, we really had two routes we could take. Traditional, but very flavorful, or Reimagined, but ultimately more generic. I chose the former.

Now.. I know this is a playtest, and the point is to try out new things, but stripping that Paladin of this core piece of identity felt like changing what it was, making something else. I am fine with doing that through rules alterations and modifications, like archetypes, but it seems like we would lose something special if the class went away from its roots.

We knew this would not be popular with some. We knew the opposite would not be popular with others. Once this game is released, I would implore you to give it a closer look. We pushed for a paladin that best expresses its ideal form. If we can get that nailed down, the roadmap to champions of all flavors becomes a lot more clear.

Until then.. be kind to each other folks. We are all hear to tell stories and go on thrilling adventures. Nobody wants to fight their companions along the way.

You're my new favorite Dev. You understand that the Paladin is more than just a power shell.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Hey there all,

Now.. I know this is a playtest, and the point is to try out new things, but stripping that Paladin of this core piece of identity felt like changing what it was, making something else. I am fine with doing that through rules alterations and modifications, like archetypes, but it seems like we would lose something special if the class went away from its roots.

Then I guess we can also expect Barbarians to be non-Lawful, Druids to be any Neutral, Bards to be any non-lawful, Monks to be any-Lawful, Rangers to be any-good, etc?

What about it's roots in being Human only, or tithes, or having specific ability score requirements? Or only having a specific number of magical items?

These are just as significant in their legacy as the Lawful Good requirement or don't these count?

Honest Question.


Arikiel wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
Arikiel wrote:

What's always bugged me about Paladins is they're so good focused with out any law focus (They have a bunch of pro-good and anti-evil abilities but no pro-law and anti-chaos abilities).

I'm not happy that in 2E they're prioritizing good over law for base Paladin's codes. It perpetuates the paradigm that it's all about good vs evil. With law vs chaos just being more of an after thought.

Yes, the Law/Chaos axis is just as important (even more important in D&D), paladins should be opposed to eladrins just as much devils. They should be able to detect and smite chaos.
You can work with devils. At least they play by the rules. Unlike those flighty faerie types. Just have to be careful what kinds of treaties and contracts you make with them as they always try to slip something past you in the fine print.

Silver is used against more Evil Outsiders, and yet the Holy Avenger is Cold Iron.


The Sideromancer wrote:
Arikiel wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
Arikiel wrote:

What's always bugged me about Paladins is they're so good focused with out any law focus (They have a bunch of pro-good and anti-evil abilities but no pro-law and anti-chaos abilities).

I'm not happy that in 2E they're prioritizing good over law for base Paladin's codes. It perpetuates the paradigm that it's all about good vs evil. With law vs chaos just being more of an after thought.

Yes, the Law/Chaos axis is just as important (even more important in D&D), paladins should be opposed to eladrins just as much devils. They should be able to detect and smite chaos.
You can work with devils. At least they play by the rules. Unlike those flighty faerie types. Just have to be careful what kinds of treaties and contracts you make with them as they always try to slip something past you in the fine print.
Silver is used against more Evil Outsiders, and yet the Holy Avenger is Cold Iron.

That's cool, demons are their number 1 foes.


Diffan wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Hey there all,

Now.. I know this is a playtest, and the point is to try out new things, but stripping that Paladin of this core piece of identity felt like changing what it was, making something else. I am fine with doing that through rules alterations and modifications, like archetypes, but it seems like we would lose something special if the class went away from its roots.

Then I guess we can also expect Barbarians to be non-Lawful, Druids to be any Neutral, Bards to be any non-lawful, Monks to be any-Lawful, Rangers to be any-good, etc?

What about it's roots in being Human only, or tithes, or having specific ability score requirements? Or only having a specific number of magical items?

These are just as significant in their legacy as the Lawful Good requirement or don't these count?

Honest Question.

Those aren't really a part of the paladins identity as a holy warrior dedicated to a cause of good and order. The restrictions of yesteryear are just the adornments surrounding that core identity.

me last year wrote:

..as I understand it...they were based off of a (primarily Victorian) romanticised and idealised version of that, (the blood-drenched crusaders) where chivalry and courtesy was offered to all, even the basest of knaves and unbelievers.

I happen to like that mythology and purity of vision despite the history behind it. Aspiring to an ideal that never really existed appeals to me, I guess.

Dark Archive

Deadmanwalking wrote:
LuniasM wrote:
I posit that there is a clear and present issue with the class gap for the full-BAB divine warrior when Gorum, the core setting deity of war and battle who is worshipped by soldiers, can't grant divine power to any full-BAB class. That's just silly.

Uh...two things:

#1: BAB no longer exists. We also have no idea what martial Class Feats Clerics have available. It's quite possible a Cleric of Gorum can wind up very much 'full BAB'.

#2: Antipaladins explicitly exist in-world (one shows up in the playtest), there just aren't PC rules for them yet. So Gorum has a 'paladin' option.

This doesn't mean I don't want CG Paladins of Gorum (I do), but it makes it a bit less of an issue to wait for them.

I know that BAB doesn't exist in PF2 - I've been pretty active on the playtest boards so far (EDIT: well... Pretty active for me at least) - but that post referred to the issue I saw in PF1. In PF2, BAB maynot exist, but the Cleric is still a full caster, which is not what I want from a martial divine character. As previewed Paladins are still superior to Clerics when it comes to using weapons and armor, and thus far we don't know how much of that gap in prowess can be bridged. My bet is that the Cleric will never be equal to the Paladin with armor and will likelt rely on spells to reach similar effectiveness with weapons.

Also, with regards to Gorum and Antipaladins, I haven't seen any support for antipaladins of specific deities - I even went and looked just to be sure. That is an intriguing concept, and just to be clear that I'm not trying to move goalposts that technically meets the requirements I put forth, but what I've really wanted was a Paladin-style martial class for all alignments with divine powers. Cavalier came close but lacked in the "divine" area, and Warpriest did too but was decidedly more of a martial/caster hybrid than a martial (and lacked the full-BAB that the concept required). Paizo still hasn't filled that gap in PF1, which is why I'm hopeful that the Paladin will be able to in PF2 - I really wanna play a divine warrior of Milani without sacrificing either the divine power or the martial prowess that the Paladin has as a baseline.

But also, plain-old CN "Paladins" of Gorum need to be a thing. So cool.


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Icy Turbo wrote:
Anti-Paladins have the chassis of a Paladin, and are not Lawful Good. Yet I also find that no one talks about any sort of restriction on the Anti-Paladin, when they are just as restrictive. If you complete any good act, you lose all your powers. You have to be the CE alignment, and no other alignment can be chosen as an Anti-Paladin.

Not completely accurate.

1) Antipaladins can willingly and even continuously perform Good acts... on the condition they are performed to further his own Evil ends. Someone persuasive or creative enough could easily spin dang-near anything to fit their own Evil ends.
2) There are no less than two archetypes that allow LE Antipaladins, one of which is pretty much just an LE alternative to the Pally/Antipally, the other allows Antipaladins to be Any Evil. The only way to be a CG Paladin is through the Ex-Paladin archetype.

EDIT: Missed a word in point 1.

Liberty's Edge

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Mark Seifter wrote:
I'm responding to this post because it was memorable, but I've seen a lot of other people asking for this too, not just RickDias. But here's the thing: We simply can't do that. It wouldn't be fair to any of you to make future promises right now about what we're going to do because keeping those promises would prevent us from listening to all of you during the playtest and making decisions based on your feedback (or we'd have to break them, which is also really not a good thing to do). So instead, we're not going to make promises about the future because we want to let all of you help us steer the way and shape it.

As a bit of a halfway point, can we possibly get a commitment that the specific issues of 'What Alignments should Paladins have available?' and 'Should Paladins require a deity?' will be addressed in the Playtest Surveys?

I think a lot of people would feel better just knowing that they'd be officially heard and counted on those issues.

Liberty's Edge

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LuniasM wrote:
Also, with regards to Gorum and Antipaladins, I haven't seen any support for antipaladins of specific deities - I even went and looked just to be sure.

Uh...Inner Sea Gods has Antipaladin Codes for both Gorum and Calistria. They are in fact a very explicit thing.

That doesn't mean there shouldn't be non-CE options for a Champion of Gorum (there should), but Antipaladins of Gorum explicitly exist.


Diffan wrote:

Then I guess we can also expect Barbarians to be non-Lawful, Druids to be any Neutral, Bards to be any non-lawful, Monks to be any-Lawful, Rangers to be any-good, etc?

What about it's roots in being Human only, or tithes, or having specific ability score requirements? Or only having a specific number of magical items?

These are just as significant in their legacy as the Lawful Good requirement or don't these count?

Honest Question.

Pathfinder wasnt based on everything ever was, even more the core book. It was based on 3.5.


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LuniasM wrote:
But also, plain-old CN "Paladins" of Gorum need to be a thing. So cool.

What would their code look like, what ideals would they uphold, what sort of things would they avenge/punish? Would they be beings of pure Chaos, bent on destroying all Law? Hang out with Slaadi on Limbo?


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Weather Report wrote:
The Sideromancer wrote:
Arikiel wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
Arikiel wrote:

What's always bugged me about Paladins is they're so good focused with out any law focus (They have a bunch of pro-good and anti-evil abilities but no pro-law and anti-chaos abilities).

I'm not happy that in 2E they're prioritizing good over law for base Paladin's codes. It perpetuates the paradigm that it's all about good vs evil. With law vs chaos just being more of an after thought.

Yes, the Law/Chaos axis is just as important (even more important in D&D), paladins should be opposed to eladrins just as much devils. They should be able to detect and smite chaos.
You can work with devils. At least they play by the rules. Unlike those flighty faerie types. Just have to be careful what kinds of treaties and contracts you make with them as they always try to slip something past you in the fine print.
Silver is used against more Evil Outsiders, and yet the Holy Avenger is Cold Iron.
That's cool, demons are their number 1 foes.

Slightly less tounge-in-cheek, I'd be taking somebody who I can keep from stabbing me in the back even if it takes inordinate amounts of negotiations over somebody that I cannot trust. I've got my own notions on what the fey are doing, and frankly the qlippoth are more sympathetic. Other deities have armies best at defending their home planes, but it's the Tane that are optimized to invade (due to their banishment immunity). Maybe if so many paladins didn't have fey backers we could get something done about the most ingrained planar invasion around.

Dark Archive

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Deadmanwalking wrote:
LuniasM wrote:
Also, with regards to Gorum and Antipaladins, I haven't seen any support for antipaladins of specific deities - I even went and looked just to be sure.

Uh...Inner Sea Gods has Antipaladin Codes for both Gorum and Calistria. They are in fact a very explicit thing.

That doesn't mean there shouldn't be non-CE options for a Champion of Gorum (there should), but Antipaladins of Gorum explicitly exist.

Seriously?! I've played the game for years and never knew about this? Ugh. Talk about blind spots. Thanks for the info, will be back in like 8 months after wallowing in shame but also piles of new character concepts.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Hey there all,

We knew the Paladin was going to be a bit contentious. The class has provoked strong emotions and discussion since the earliest days of gaming. In designing this class, we really had two routes we could take. Traditional, but very flavorful, or Reimagined, but ultimately more generic. I chose the former.

Now.. I know this is a playtest, and the point is to try out new things, but stripping that Paladin of this core piece of identity felt like changing what it was, making something else. I am fine with doing that through rules alterations and modifications, like archetypes, but it seems like we would lose something special if the class went away from its roots.

I wouldn't even know how to test the paladin by this standard in a playtest? Because the pure mechanical rule part is easy to test, thats not the problem I see.

How can one make a meaningful statement about Paladin/Alignment in the playtest? Testing potential imbalances in the code/anathema are very situational and in the end what should one say? "It would have totally worked out if I could have followed CG standards!" those arent defined, so thats hardly the point. "I didn't test the paladin because I would have rather seen INSERT IDEA HERE." but thats not the point of the playtest.

So how could the playtest provide information that, would make the slot the Paladin fills change to something else?

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