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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Tags: Paladins Pathfinder Playtest Seelah Wayne Reynolds
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gustavo iglesias wrote:
Revel wrote:

what if a paladin of Shelyn where put in a situation where they had to lie to save a great historical piece of art? What takes priority? How about if an innocent would come to harm, what if the lawful authorities have decided it must be destroyed, etc.

Great question

Agreed.


Revel wrote:

Maybe I missed this but I have a question.

Where does your gods anathema fit on the codes of conduct? It seems like they would have to be included somehow. For example, what if a paladin of Shelyn where put in a situation where they had to lie to save a great historical piece of art? What takes priority? How about if an innocent would come to harm, what if the lawful authorities have decided it must be destroyed, etc.

Unless your gods anathema is included on the chart I’m still seeing plenty of “paladin falling” threads in the future.

Adding deities to the code makes things pretty out of whack in general, really. The code works fine for a Paladin of Iomedae, and a Paladin of Shelyn will approve of the order, but a Paladin of Abadar would want the order reversed.

Grand Lodge

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So I figured that it’s time for me to wade into the Paladin Discussion.

FIRST, A THANK YOU

  • Thanks to the Paizo Team for leading off this discussion with Sara Marie’s thoughtful suggestions. The civility of this discussion is breathtaking.

  • Thanks for launching this well before PaizoCon. I think that HWalsh was correct that it was time to just have the blog, and let the uproar settle.

  • Thanks for providing more clarity and details for us to process. This is so much preferred to having vague blog teasers. Giving us stuff to analyze and solid details does much to calm all of us going through this transition.

  • Thanks for providing a framework for ethical dilemmas, and for allowing Players to weigh situations in which they must break a tenet to save someone. Your list for ranking tenets was both thoughtful and clear, and it provided excellent guidance.

★ ---- ★ ---- ★ ---- ★

POSITIVES

I love having oaths available to all Paladins, regardless of archetype. The feats look interesting, as does the armor class.

★ ---- ★ ---- ★ ---- ★

STUFF I’M UNSURE ABOUT

Divine Grace as a reaction? Huh. That sounds more complicated than I’d like to deal with, but I’m willing to see how it works in the Playtest.

★ ---- ★ ---- ★ ---- ★

CRITICISM about the LG Alignment Restriction

I feel like this was one place the team dropped the ball by not trusting us with the opportunity to explore other Divine Champion alignments in the Playtest. One should be allowed to be a holy warrior right in the core book, without being either lawful or good. I have long wanted to be a holy champion of Cayden Cailean or Desna. I don’t think that the player base should have to wait until you release alternate Paladins or Inquisitors or Warpriests in the new 2E system. That should be an option available from the beginning.

I think that the Paladin class should have been renamed Divine Champion (with a nod to the Starfinder Archetype) or Herald. Then you could have had ‘Paladins’ be an LG-only subset of the Divine Champion.

The Playtest is all about risk and reinvention and trying something new. So let’s open up and reinvent.

Hmm


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HWalsh, I'm glad to see someone who gets this issue so right for me. The paladin archetype actually has a long history with me, and is part of my formation as an adult. With that said:

HWalsh wrote:

That doesn't mean you shouldn't be able to play those characters in a comic book RPG... Why? They are part of the genre. No matter how idiotic I find most of them I wouldn't ever suggest a company not put that kind of character into a comic book rpg because it is part of the genre.

Pretty much it.

I can ban stuff at my table all the time. I more often than not ban Shamans at my table. Not because I hate them, but because it's very hard to put an entire Spirit World in my cosmology, so it usually gets the short end of the stick. This doesn't mean I want them to be expunged from the game. They should be there for people who like it. Just as the Paladin. Just as the Holy Liberator or whatever we call CG special warriors. Just as the Gunslinger...

It's all about options, right? So, don't take that option, that class, away from us. If someone hates them so much, just ban at their table. I have a hard time believing that a feat for armor supremacy is much to pay, and the Cleric already fills the role of a religious warrior . We don't need two classes for the same thing!

If anything, let's ask for the Cleric to have pretty warrior-like options to choose from ^^

Grand Lodge

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More Thoughts on the LG Paladins, Adventuring Life & Moral Dilemmas

As a player, I tend to enjoy playing the ‘good’ alignments, ranging from LG to CG. One of my favorite characters is Lyric the Singing Paladin, who is very much the embodiment of Lawful Good — though with a Shelynite code she leans slightly more good than lawful. In PFS, I’ve adventured with all sorts of parties and traveled to all sorts of locations while still maintaining my personal code.

The Appeal of LG Paladins. I think that part of the appeal of LG Paladins is that they run counter to the ‘murderhobo’ adventuring stereotype. This is an inherent part of their appeal. Paladins have a code. They are supposed to rise above the fray. Being LG and having a code that does not follow that of the normal adventuring party also allows GMs a chance to offer Paladins ethical problems and make them squirm — it’s an RP challenge, just like combat.

The Controversial Aspect of LG Paladins. Once you get beyond ethical dilemmas that are planned by GMs as a story challenge, there can be issues when LG is played with rigidity rather than thoughtfulness. Paladin players can be problematic when they see themselves as a the policer of the party rather than as a member of the team. No one enjoys when a party clashes continually over goals and behavior — it causes resentment, the stalling of games, or ‘acting behind the backs’ of other PCs. There’s also cases where some GMs play ‘gotcha’ games with Paladins that go way beyond a simple RP challenge. (This why the rated tenets that. you put here were so appreciated.)

Fears about non-LG Paladins. I’ve seen fears in this forum that non-LG Paladins will Murderhobo and be essentially have no moral compass at all. They worry that a non-LG alignment will cheapen the class, or make it too easy to play. Since no one worries about non-LG clerics, this is an assumption that bugs the heck out of me. If we can handle clerics of every alignment in this game, why not holy wariors? Furthermore, if all holy warriors have a code of tenets and anathema, why do we assume that removing the LG component means that they’re not bound by a code? You don’t have to be Lawful Good to be bound by code of conduct.

Codes and the Chaotic. My favorite CG character, Harmose, is very complicated man but he is bound by a strict code of behavior. He’s a liar and a flirt — but he’ll never lie to someone who’s a teammate or a lover. He’s polyamorous, but will not have a relationship with anyone who does not have full consent of their romantic partners. He’s a schemer — but he tends to scheme for justice, and cannot stand by when innocents are hurt. He’s very tactical, but will sacrifice himself in an instant to keep his team alive. More than anyone else in the party, his personal code has come into play in our Mummy’s Mask game, enriching and complicating our play. He’s not a paladin (he’s a sorc / oracle) cross, but his relationship with his deity and the mission that he believes that he’s received is a strong one that lies deeply at the bottom of his motivations.

I sincerely wish that Paizo had at least explored opening up Paladins / Divine Champions / Heralds to all good alignments, making your deific code of tenets the centerpiece of the class. We deserve holy warriors in the CRB to champion the chaotic gods who want to make the world a better place.

Yours

Hmm

Shadow Lodge

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HWalsh wrote:
Dude I hate gunslingers. Hate with a burning passion. I hate Alchemists, they are dumb, they (and 'slingers) belong in a weird pirate-esque setting, along with the swashbuckler. They are too far ahead time-line wise to be around.

Guns predated Full Plate and Rapiers by nearly a century.

Alchemy has been around since Ancient Egypt.

Guns and Alchemy are no further ahead in the timeline than other things you'd consider fantasy staples.


The Paladin, as any other class, has changed with time. However, they still are the Paladin. Just as the Wizard still is the Wizard, and the Fighter, and...

"Opening" up the Paladin to other alignments is not "changing" the class, is destroying it by changing their fundamental nature.
A fighter still fights. A wizard still casts arcane spells. Therefore, paladins should still be paladins, even if their abilities change over time.

And this article proposes a terrific approach to the paladin! Paladin fans have much to celebrate!
If you don't like the class, play another ;)


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I wonder if part of the reason “other aligned paladins” aren’t being included is in part due to the timeframe/resource scarcity during the playtest.

I’d hazard a guess that no topic requires more moderator presence/action (barring perhaps edition warring). I daresay Paizo are in the position of wanting to review everything as it stands in Pathfinder but recognising that having just four months and only handful of moderators and designers means they can’t.

Faced with the need to excise some of the more drastic rules changes they are contemplating, I can see some logic in excluding the emotive-and-contentious changes as opposed to the just radical.


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Igwilly wrote:


It's all about options, right? So, don't take that option, that class, away from us. If someone hates them so much, just ban at their table. I have a hard time believing that a feat for armor supremacy is much to pay, and the Cleric already fills the role of a religious warrior . We don't need two classes for the same thing!

Again:

NOBODY asks to remove the posibility to play LG paladins with the exact code that is published in this blog. NOBODY.

Having the option to ALSO play NG paladins, or LN paladins, or CG paladins, do NOT remove your option to play the paladin you like, just like the existence of CE Antipaladins do not remove your option to play LG paladins.

HOWEVER, enforcing that Paladins can be LG, and only LG, with no option to play a NG paladin of Saerenrae for example, DOES ban options for those who want it.

It's curious how the LG camp want to enforce everybody to play by their rules, because they feel it's the righteous thing to do. It's pretty thematic with LG paladins, who also try to force everybody to be like they want them to be. :P

Shadow Lodge

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Hmm wrote:
I sincerely wish that Paizo had at least explored opening up Paladins to all good alignments, making your deific code of tenets the centerpiece of the class. We deserve holy warriors in the CRB to champion the chaotic gods who want to make the world a better place.

The stringent behavioral guidelines associated with the Paladin's Code, and the discipline that comes with it, are antithetical to the idea of a Chaotic God. In the example given, you've essentially created a code that can be summarized as "don't be evil", which is certainly a noble sentiment--but the Paladin is supposed to be beyond merely not being evil, it's about duty both to others, and to yourself, walking the razor's edge in the name of continually forcing yourself to be your best; and it is accepting that failure means losing everything. Chaos does not allow for that kind of stringent duty, nor should it! Chaos is the easy rode of kinda doing whatever you want.

I do think that Chaotic gods should have the option of having a holy Warrior (which is why I hope Clerics get some better martial options), and hope they get another class in the future.

I just hope it's not called Paladin.

Silver Crusade

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gustavo iglesias wrote:
It's curious how the LG camp want to enforce everybody to play by their rules, because they feel it's the righteous thing to do. It's pretty thematic with LG paladins, who also try to force everybody to be like they want them to be. :P

I don’t do that. I’m out to redeem and lead by example, not to force others to live by the strict code that I have set for myself.


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I agree with the point Igwilly makes.
I'm not at all opposed to "alternate paladins" for other alignments.
But an non-LG paladin makes as much sense as a wizard in full plate swinging a sword and not knowing any magic.

An argument that the class should be thrown out because it is exclusive to one alignment would be reasonable. I wouldn't agree at all. But I would respect the opinion.

I'd be happy to see a warpriest class that allows any alignment. But I still wouldn't confuse a LG warpriest for a paladin.

And I'd much rather they produce a book with 8 other divine warriors for each alignment to offset the paladin than weigh down all 9 classes by tying them together.


Disk Elemental wrote:
HWalsh wrote:
Dude I hate gunslingers. Hate with a burning passion. I hate Alchemists, they are dumb, they (and 'slingers) belong in a weird pirate-esque setting, along with the swashbuckler. They are too far ahead time-line wise to be around.

Guns predated Full Plate and Rapiers by nearly a century.

Alchemy has been around since Ancient Egypt.

Guns and Alchemy are no further ahead in the timeline than other things you'd consider fantasy staples.

They are not further ahead in the timeline from a real life perspective. They *are* from the fantasy genre perspective. This is all about the genre, not real life.

When you read the stories of King Arthur, when was the last time you saw someone pull out a pistol and shoot someone. In the classic stories? I have read a LOT of them and I have never seen it.

They just aren't part of the sword and sorcery genre.

The same thing with Rapiers. Yes, they may have existed at the time of Full Plate, and yes, I am aware that someone in King Arthur's supposed day wouldn't have had full plate, nor would he have had a sword like the ones we see him have... What happened is that painters later depicted them with modern equivalent weaponry as was common at the time... ANYWAY...

The point is those things aren't part of the general genre. They don't play a prominence in those kinds of stories.

Rapiers and Pistols are more from more Musketeer fiction. Which is the point. It is the feel for the genre. Not a historical recreation.

Grand Lodge

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Disk Elemental wrote:

I do think that Chaotic gods should have the option of having a holy Warrior (which is why I hope Clerics get some better martial options), and hope they get another class in the future.

I just hope it's not called Paladin.

You’ll note that I suggested the class be renamed ‘Divine Champions’ with ‘Paladins’ only being the Lawful Good subset.

Then we could all Marvel at our D.C. Heroes!*

Hmm

* Couldn’t help myself, sorry!


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But .. we aren't all playing King Arthur and the same fantasy genre it appears.


Igwilly wrote:

The Paladin, as any other class, has changed with time. However, they still are the Paladin. Just as the Wizard still is the Wizard, and the Fighter, and...

"Opening" up the Paladin to other alignments is not "changing" the class, is destroying it by changing their fundamental nature.
A fighter still fights. A wizard still casts arcane spells. Therefore, paladins should still be paladins, even if their abilities change over time.

And this article proposes a terrific approach to the paladin! Paladin fans have much to celebrate!
If you don't like the class, play another ;)

Doesn't work that way.

Part of the appeal of the type of hero the Paladin represents is the exclusivity.

If you open it up, you destroy that exclusivity, and you destroy the class.

So yes. You being able to play an CG Paladin of Milani damages the LG Paladin, because for us it isn't about what we can play. It is about the class's place in the world. You have to understand that.


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Hmm wrote:
<some thoughtful points>

Hey, you. :3

So...one of the proposals I'd brought forward was, the cleric is set to have these domain-themed, diverse options anyway. The new action economy suggests caster-warriors (gishes) will be possible from the get-go in Core.

So, why not let cleric flow in two ways?
A. Casty-Casty
B. Fighty-Casty

...based on their faith?

Some of the counters though, were that folks saw the cleric as a certain way. The fighty-casty option didn't fit. Maybe there are others out there? I don't know. I recall a lot of "make the cleric a priest" threads even in 1e.

...That is pretty similar to what others are saying about the paladin.

I'm going to propose that maybe the only way forward is a true warpriest class, while having cleric and paladin separately. Otherwise, we're stomping on half the playerbase. We're risking saying: my view is more valid than yours. Therefore, YOU should change, and stop being an elitist about it.

That isn't cool. I've stopped nudging for the cleric change, unless more folks go for that.

(And I know you aren't belittling folks; it's more that there have been some bad posts here, though. I saw some of the ones that were removed and your eyes just pop out of your head and stay there, with how folks were treating one another.)

For alignment issues: so I have to say something, here. I don't think this was intended to come off the way it did, you know?

Do you remember the murderhobo threads around the goblins? There's concerns about Law and Chaos everywhere. I mean, and well--let's please remove phrases like "lawful stupid" from "reasons we should have CG paladins." That can sound like the poster saying that "LG paladins are LS and therefore CG is better" ...I mean, part of me knows you didn't mean that.

The other part of me is raising my eyebrows. So...yeah. I have to mention that. Can we not do that, guys?

Anyway, I'm all for revising alignment. I just think it needs to be done at the system level, not the class level, you know?


knightnday wrote:
But .. we aren't all playing King Arthur and the same fantasy genre it appears.

Which is where, in my opinion, Paizo actually made their mistake with Pathfinder.

They created Golarion, which is a mishmash of everything (which totally doesn't work if we stop to think about it even a little bit) instead of doing a number of different setting books with their own classes to represent worlds of a different type.

That is something TSR did, and did well.

Not every class fits in every genre.

Example:
Krynn didn't have Paladins. They had Knights of Solomnia, which were a different class altogether with completely different traits.

Not every world had Psionics initially, they were part of the Dark Sun campaign setting.

Spelljammer... Spelljammer was weird...


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gustavo iglesias wrote:
Igwilly wrote:


It's all about options, right? So, don't take that option, that class, away from us. If someone hates them so much, just ban at their table. I have a hard time believing that a feat for armor supremacy is much to pay, and the Cleric already fills the role of a religious warrior . We don't need two classes for the same thing!

Again:

NOBODY asks to remove the posibility to play LG paladins with the exact code that is published in this blog. NOBODY.

Having the option to ALSO play NG paladins, or LN paladins, or CG paladins, do NOT remove your option to play the paladin you like, just like the existence of CE Antipaladins do not remove your option to play LG paladins.

HOWEVER, enforcing that Paladins can be LG, and only LG, with no option to play a NG paladin of Saerenrae for example, DOES ban options for those who want it.

It's curious how the LG camp want to enforce everybody to play by their rules, because they feel it's the righteous thing to do. It's pretty thematic with LG paladins, who also try to force everybody to be like they want them to be. :P

I don't think saying that wizards should cast spells and fighters should use weapons is forcing anyone to play by my rules. And I don't think that having a paladin be a paladin is anymore forcing anyone to play by my rules. It is simply having something be what the word says.

You can't be a witch in the playtest. You can't be a psion in the playtest. You can't be a gunslinger in the playtest. None of these are personal attacks or even true "denials".

They can bring in the witches and psions and "Liberators" or whatever they want to call a CG Holy warrior later if they want to.

I'm not opposed to changes or the slaying or sacred cows. But some sacred cows are sacred for good reason. The paladin (the LG holy knight) is a very popular thing. Giving that to the people who like it is not denying anything to you. And not giving you a NG (not)paladin in the playtest isn't denying you anything any more than not giving you a witch.

They could take the paladin out altogether to appease you I suppose. But that seems pointlessly extreme.


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HWalsh wrote:
Igwilly wrote:

The Paladin, as any other class, has changed with time. However, they still are the Paladin. Just as the Wizard still is the Wizard, and the Fighter, and...

"Opening" up the Paladin to other alignments is not "changing" the class, is destroying it by changing their fundamental nature.
A fighter still fights. A wizard still casts arcane spells. Therefore, paladins should still be paladins, even if their abilities change over time.

And this article proposes a terrific approach to the paladin! Paladin fans have much to celebrate!
If you don't like the class, play another ;)

Doesn't work that way.

Part of the appeal of the type of hero the Paladin represents is the exclusivity.

If you open it up, you destroy that exclusivity, and you destroy the class.

So yes. You being able to play an CG Paladin of Milani damages the LG Paladin, because for us it isn't about what we can play. It is about the class's place in the world. You have to understand that.

Then that should be up to the DM to distinguish. If the exclusivity is important, the DM should then have the conviction to implement that on the game/setting/campaign. That's their job anyhow. Why does a designer in Seattle get to dictate what my Paladin does in Pittsburgh??


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HWalsh wrote:


So yes. You being able to play an CG Paladin of Milani damages the LG Paladin, because for us it isn't about what we can play. It is about the class's place in the world. You have to understand that.

Oh, I understand it. It's the classic Lawful behaviour. Pretty iconic for LG paladins in fact.

CG people want everybody play whatever paladin they want to play. LG people want everybody play paladins the "right way", or don't play it at all.

Shadow Lodge

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Hmm wrote:
You’ll note that I suggested the class be renamed ‘Divine Champions’ with ‘Paladins’ only being the Lawful Good subset.

I certainly wouldn't have been opposed to that, but it's not the route Paizo has chosen to go.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Muddy Volcano wrote:
For alignment issues: so I have to say something, here. Do you remember the murderhobo threads around the goblins? There's concerns about Law and Chaos everywhere. I mean, and well--let's please remove phrases like "lawful stupid" from "reasons we should have CG paladins." That can sound like the poster saying that "LG paladins are LS and therefore CG is better" ...I mean, part of me knows you didn't mean that.

I did not mean to imply that all Paladins are LS. Merely that some players garner that reputation for themselves by being rigid instead of thoughtful. But as I have seemed to hit a hot button with that phrase, I’m going to edit my post to remove that term and use ‘rigid’ instead.

I hope that it makes it better for you!

Hmm

Paizo Employee Designer

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I've removed a few posts. I'm trying not to moderate very much in the playtest forums, but it's simply not acceptable to compare the paladin class's alignment restriction to the institution of slavery.


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I'm gonna throw this out there as someone who doesn't like Paladins as LG only... It's really easy to house rule otherwise. Not in PFS, but PFS is already alignment restricted and isn't really a bastion of in depth role play opportunities. (At least in my experience.) Are PFS DMs particularly bad about making Paladins fall or something?

I don't restrict Paladins to LG in my own games, and come to think of it I don't think I've ever encountered it in a home-game. Heck, even one of the older DMS I've had, who thought the PF sorcerer was too modern and banned it, found the idea of a CG paladin intriguing enough to allow. I know there are DMs that wouldn't allow it out there, but frankly I think most of them feel strongly enough about it to ban other alignments on Paladins even if it got made core.

Maybe that's naive of me. I don't want to minimize the experience of others. I'm just a little surprised that people feel like THIS is enough to make them give up on PF2.

The think that probably cuts the other way, too. If Paladins got unshackled from alignment, lots of people would probably say they were quitting over that. But again, pretty easy house rule to restrict it back to LG. Heck, in some ways it would be even easier to deal with, as there wouldn't be anything stopping you from continuing to only play LG Paladins. The worst you'd have to put up with might be some other player using a character you don't like. As is, the folks who wanted unaligned Paladins at least need to secure their GMs permission to make the characters they want to make.


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Hmm wrote:
Muddy Volcano wrote:
For alignment issues: so I have to say something, here. Do you remember the murderhobo threads around the goblins? There's concerns about Law and Chaos everywhere. I mean, and well--let's please remove phrases like "lawful stupid" from "reasons we should have CG paladins." That can sound like the poster saying that "LG paladins are LS and therefore CG is better" ...I mean, part of me knows you didn't mean that.

I did not mean to imply that all Paladins are LS. Merely that some players garner that reputation for themselves by being rigid instead of thoughtful. But as I have seemed to hit a hot button with that phrase, I’m going to edit my post to remove that term and use ‘rigid’ instead.

I hope that it makes it better for you!

Hmm

Hey, you. I didn't think you intended to. I brought it up because I didn't think you did, if that makes sense? It also well, it undermines what you're trying to say because I know I'm not the only one who will respond that way.

Anyhow, thanks for updating the post. It's much appreciated. :D


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Steve Geddes wrote:

I wonder if part of the reason “other aligned paladins” aren’t being included is in part due to the timeframe/resource scarcity during the playtest.

I’d hazard a guess that no topic requires more moderator presence/action (barring perhaps edition warring). I daresay Paizo are in the position of wanting to review everything as it stands in Pathfinder but recognising that having just four months and only handful of moderators and designers means they can’t.

Faced with the need to excise some of the more drastic rules changes they are contemplating, I can see some logic in excluding the emotive-and-contentious changes as opposed to the just radical.

They're the ones who set an artificially short timeline. If the time to playtest needs to be longer and the date of final publish needs to get pushed out in order to actually properly test things, that is the decision they should make. 5E was in playtest a hell of a lot longer than what they're proposing.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

I see comments about letting the cleric be a fighty-priest option via class feat selections. That only makes sense up to a point. I think the addition of spell-point fueled abillites perfectly illustrates that there are other ways to create characters aside from how 'fighty' and how 'casty' they are. There is not another spectrum in how 'spell-pointy' they are. From this write-up, it appears that they are taking the paladin in the direction of high-fighty, high-spell-pointy, low-casty. The cleric is not that direction. The ability to spread that mechanical mix to other deities and ideals expands on that great new mechanic in a way that BUILDS flavor for characters without actually removing flavor from anything currently written. It allows a whole playstyle that is already quite popular in the 1e Warpriest (one of the best written classes I've seen in years simply BECAUSE the flavor is so NOT baked into the class).

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Fuzzypaws wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

I wonder if part of the reason “other aligned paladins” aren’t being included is in part due to the timeframe/resource scarcity during the playtest.

I’d hazard a guess that no topic requires more moderator presence/action (barring perhaps edition warring). I daresay Paizo are in the position of wanting to review everything as it stands in Pathfinder but recognising that having just four months and only handful of moderators and designers means they can’t.

Faced with the need to excise some of the more drastic rules changes they are contemplating, I can see some logic in excluding the emotive-and-contentious changes as opposed to the just radical.

They're the ones who set an artificially short timeline. If the time to playtest needs to be longer and the date of final publish needs to get pushed out in order to actually properly test things, that is the decision they should make. 5E was in playtest a hell of a lot longer than what they're proposing.

From an Organized Play standpoint, I’m glad the Playtest is as short as it is. I think the Playtest will be excellent for the future health of our game, but oh my, it is wreaking havoc on our Organized Play Campaign with all this uncertainty!

Hmm


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I still hold that nothing in the core book should be exclusive. That is one tradition that I'm glad we're moving away from.


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I have to say, the argument that Paladins are only worthwhile if they're an exclusive club is a hilariously un-Paladin-like way of thinking.


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Benjamin Medrano wrote:

I would have no issue if they removed the 'lawful' part of LG for the paladin. None whatsoever. That said, I am fine with the choice Paizo made. I do not think that simply mirroring it to other alignments would work well.

I want to see other aligned champions of the various gods, don't get me wrong. But I'm willing to wait on it and be patient.

agreed

the paladin as it sounds, does sound like it could have done without the lawful part.

well maybe during the test...


CraziFuzzy wrote:
I see comments about letting the cleric be a fighty-priest option via class selections. That only makes sense up to a point. I think the addition of spell-point fueled abillites perfectly illustrates that there are other ways to create characters aside from how 'fighty' and how 'casty' they are. There is not another spectrum in how 'spell-pointy' they are. From this write-up, it appears that they are taking the paladin in the direction of high-fighty, high-spell-pointy, low-casty. The cleric is not that direction. The ability to spread that mechanical mix to other deities and ideals expands on that great new mechanic in a way that BUILDS flavor for characters without actually removing flavor from anything currently written. It allows a whole playstyle that is already quite popular in the 1e Warpriest (one of the best written classes I've seen in years simply BECAUSE the flavor is so NOT baked into the class).

Aye, but there are a number of folks (I think?) who view the cleric in a certain way, just as there are folks who view the paladin in a certain way.

Or the wizard in a certain way.

It doesn't make it wrong. It just means we need a warpriest class that is its own thing. The cleric and paladin as they exist in 2e now will let us expand our knowledge of the system and these possibilities. Think of them as a test bed for a better warpriest, in the end.

This is something we need to do. Didn't Jacobs help spearhead the warpriest, or am I misremembering? If that's the case, we're likely to get it sooner rather than later, if there is that sort of love for it--and if we as a community ask for one.

Anyhow, I'd rather this than more wars calling eachother elists.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I don't understand how LG can be 'best good' when I've sat at a table with my True Neutral follower of Irori and did 'better good' than the two paladins they sat with.

They refused to accept different thoughts, ideologies, concepts beyond their own.

My Slayer Cleric was firmly of the belief that life is a learning experience and without knowing the evil in folks' hearts, one could not shield one's self against it.

Likewise, acting in a tyrannically lawful fashion limited personal freedom -- but too much freedom was just as bad, because it required a level of self-accountability that very few mortals possess.

And I'd get people asking why they weren't LG, nor a paladin -- after all, they did more Good than the two paladin in question.

And the response was simple-ish.

"By restricting one's path, one blinds one's self to Wisdom and Growth. That is a personal choice, and one that I believe personally flawed but I will not argue that some need those restrictions to give them guidance."

If he could be been a 'true' paladin at TN?

He would definitely be one.


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BryonD wrote:
And not giving you a NG (not)paladin in the playtest isn't denying you anything any more than not giving you a witch.

The thing is... it is denying us something. It's denying us access to the Armor class. The only class that gets Legendary Armor proficiency in-class (at least by their own implications if not exact words.) And they have said elsewhere that armor proficiency pretty much only advances past Trained in-class. So 8 out of 9 alignments are banned from maximizing their armor-using ability in Core, at least from a player perspective. That seems pretty significant.

Fortunately for me at least the GM in my group who's planning to run playtests is also the one GM in the group who's amenable to homebrew and will maybe let me get away with NG, given I have personal issues with Lawful. But that's it's own aside that's not entirely relevant ^.^;

Paizo Employee Designer

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Shinigami02 wrote:
BryonD wrote:
And not giving you a NG (not)paladin in the playtest isn't denying you anything any more than not giving you a witch.

The thing is... it is denying us something. It's denying us access to the Armor class. The only class that gets Legendary Armor proficiency in-class (at least by their own implications if not exact words.) And they have said elsewhere that armor proficiency pretty much only advances past Trained in-class. So 8 out of 9 alignments are banned from maximizing their armor-using ability in Core, at least from a player perspective. That seems pretty significant.

Fortunately for me at least the GM in my group who's planning to run playtests is also the one GM in the group who's amenable to homebrew and will maybe let me get away with NG, given I have personal issues with Lawful. But that's it's own aside that's not entirely relevant ^.^;

I mentioned this elsewhere, but even in the playtest alone, there is a class that gets legendary AC-based proficiency (just not heavy armor) and a way for non-paladins to get legendary proficiency in a heavy armor and shields.


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Well that does take a load off my mind at least.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Shinigami02 wrote:
BryonD wrote:
And not giving you a NG (not)paladin in the playtest isn't denying you anything any more than not giving you a witch.

The thing is... it is denying us something. It's denying us access to the Armor class. The only class that gets Legendary Armor proficiency in-class (at least by their own implications if not exact words.) And they have said elsewhere that armor proficiency pretty much only advances past Trained in-class. So 8 out of 9 alignments are banned from maximizing their armor-using ability in Core, at least from a player perspective. That seems pretty significant.

Fortunately for me at least the GM in my group who's planning to run playtests is also the one GM in the group who's amenable to homebrew and will maybe let me get away with NG, given I have personal issues with Lawful. But that's it's own aside that's not entirely relevant ^.^;

I mentioned this elsewhere, but even in the playtest alone, there is a class that gets legendary AC-based proficiency (just not heavy armor) and a way for non-paladins to get legendary proficiency in a heavy armor and shields.

Ah, being able to feat into legendary proficiency more or less solves that issue then. I'd guess that what you're referring to with that first half is the Monk getting legendary in unarmored.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
MuddyVolcano wrote:
CraziFuzzy wrote:
I see comments about letting the cleric be a fighty-priest option via class selections. That only makes sense up to a point. I think the addition of spell-point fueled abillites perfectly illustrates that there are other ways to create characters aside from how 'fighty' and how 'casty' they are. There is not another spectrum in how 'spell-pointy' they are. From this write-up, it appears that they are taking the paladin in the direction of high-fighty, high-spell-pointy, low-casty. The cleric is not that direction. The ability to spread that mechanical mix to other deities and ideals expands on that great new mechanic in a way that BUILDS flavor for characters without actually removing flavor from anything currently written. It allows a whole playstyle that is already quite popular in the 1e Warpriest (one of the best written classes I've seen in years simply BECAUSE the flavor is so NOT baked into the class).

Aye, but there are a number of folks (I think?) who view the cleric in a certain way, just as there are folks who view the paladin in a certain way.

Or the wizard in a certain way.

It doesn't make it wrong. It just means we need a warpriest class that is its own thing. The cleric and paladin as they exist in 2e now will let us expand our knowledge of the system and these possibilities. Think of them as a test bed for a better warpriest, in the end.

This is something we need to do. Didn't Jacobs help spearhead the warpriest, or am I misremembering? If that's the case, we're likely to get it sooner rather than later, if there is that sort of love for it--and if we as a community ask for one.

Anyhow, I'd rather this than more wars calling eachother elists.

So, like many others, you agree what a warpriest class makes sense.

But - if you were to design a warpriest for pf2e, based on the general mechanics already presented in the previews to this date - how would you design it?

Personally, I would lean it heavily on the spell point mechanics, gaining improvements over the cleric's spell point fueled domain powers, and giving some added proficiency boosts to deity specific items (armor for Gorumites, starknives for Desnans, crafting for Shelynites, etc), and limited or even no actual 'spell slots'. These abilities would be powered by a commitment to their deity's ideals, but through direct action more so than prayer/worship.

When you step back and look at that description of abilities, it sounds a very much like the Paladin they just previewed, without the specific 'base class' code and alignment. It just seems like a completely natural evolution of the mechanics, and one that would see a lot more playtime (meaning more value per published page) than the restricted paladin as presented.

More usable value per published page is pretty much the definition of 'quality' in a gaming product.


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HWalsh wrote:
Igwilly wrote:

The Paladin, as any other class, has changed with time. However, they still are the Paladin. Just as the Wizard still is the Wizard, and the Fighter, and...

"Opening" up the Paladin to other alignments is not "changing" the class, is destroying it by changing their fundamental nature.
A fighter still fights. A wizard still casts arcane spells. Therefore, paladins should still be paladins, even if their abilities change over time.

And this article proposes a terrific approach to the paladin! Paladin fans have much to celebrate!
If you don't like the class, play another ;)

Doesn't work that way.

Part of the appeal of the type of hero the Paladin represents is the exclusivity.

If you open it up, you destroy that exclusivity, and you destroy the class.

So yes. You being able to play an CG Paladin of Milani damages the LG Paladin, because for us it isn't about what we can play. It is about the class's place in the world. You have to understand that.

Paladins are, at the core of their flavor, people who will not compromise their standards. That's already a pretty high bar to set: why should Paizo also dictate what those standards should be? Can't a person be as unswervingly CG, LN, or NE as the current Paladin is LG?

I think part of the problem here is that we all have a pretty good conception of what it means to be LG. We can easily see what kind of tenets a LG character would hold to. However, I think that the fundamental nature of what it means to be CG eludes most of us simply because most of us are not chaotic by nature. I'll give you a real-life example of people who are chaotic: there's a whole crowd of people who are really into DRM-free/open source stuff. These people believe so strongly that purchasing a video game means that they should have the right to copy that game that they will *on principle* buy games and upload pirated copies of the game to the internet *without receiving any compensation.* I think that sort of behavior definitely speaks to the same level of "devotion" that the Paladin Code does, only for different values.

LG says "if a law is unjust, break it but turn yourself in and allow yourself to be imprisoned so that the world can see your good and obedient example." NG says "If a law is unjust, break it privately as long as you can get away with it so that you may continue to help others." CG says "if a law is unjust, break it publicly and repeatedly and violently resist all attempts at arrest so that it will be changed."

I think all of those concepts can be worthy of the Paladin's exclusivity. I can make many other similar demonstrations of someone who believes wholeheartedly in the other alignments - I could even (probably) come up with campaign slogans for "political candidates" who believe in all of the alignments. The problem with alignment is when you try to apply the tenets of that alignment to a character who (on paper) follows those tenets as if they were proscriptions to be followed to the letter rather than beliefs to be followed with one's whole heart you arrive at a character who acts in many cases as someone who believes in another alignment than they claim to believe in. I would much rather play with characters who first decide to adhere to a particular religion or philosophy, and only then assign an alignment to that philosophy after the fact. That way, the entire character concept was built around a system of beliefs which that character would never contravene - even in spirit - and the issue of alignments creating cookie-cutter characters is eliminated because that person's unique set of beliefs was baked into that specific character from inception rather than shoehorned on because the player wanted to play a magical knight.


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HWalsh wrote:
knightnday wrote:
But .. we aren't all playing King Arthur and the same fantasy genre it appears.

Which is where, in my opinion, Paizo actually made their mistake with Pathfinder.

They created Golarion, which is a mishmash of everything (which totally doesn't work if we stop to think about it even a little bit) instead of doing a number of different setting books with their own classes to represent worlds of a different type.

That is something TSR did, and did well.

Not every class fits in every genre.

Example:
Krynn didn't have Paladins. They had Knights of Solomnia, which were a different class altogether with completely different traits.

Not every world had Psionics initially, they were part of the Dark Sun campaign setting.

Spelljammer... Spelljammer was weird...

I wouldn't exactly call that a mistake, more of a necessity. As I understand it, and granted I wasn't old enough to pay attention at the time, so this is hearsay, that's a big part of what killed TSR. They released so many unrelated settings that they massively split their player base, to where they were releasing products for I don't know, 8 or 10 different settings, but the majority of their customers were only buying from one or two of those. Paizo has learned from the mistakes of their predecessors and limited themselves to one main setting, while still making it open enough for everybody to find something in the setting they like. Is it realistic? No, not really, and in all honesty I'm not a huge fan of Golarion. But it does serve the purpose fairly well.


Evil beast specific litanies is so good, soo soo damn juicy good.

I can actually play a paladin in a tabletop rpg and when I say, "Down you filthy beast!" it means something mechanically?!?! Oh my, you done did it, it's perfect.

Just perfect!

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