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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dragonhunterq wrote:

I'd be lying if I said this doesn't make me very happy.

It is promising that if and when they get around to the other alignments they will be more finely tuned than simply inverting the LG paladin abilities. My big issue with anti paladins wasn't their existence, but the lazy design (with apologies to whomever designed it, but it really was).
I always preferred the Blackguard prestige class to any other anti-paladin.

Even the name is a bit lazy since it references the paladin, meaning the class wouldn't be possible without them, which is not true.


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Count me in with being disappointed that paladins, like clerics, must be tied to a deity now. It seems like a bizarre restriction to drop in suddenly.

Silver Crusade

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Fuzzypaws wrote:
Wermut wrote:
Darkorin wrote:
I'm quite disappointed to learn that the Paladin does not seem to use the anathema mechanic (which seemed perfect to build Paladins of all Alignments), or at least a version of the anathema mechanic.
Blog wrote:
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.
Anathema by deity rather than by class does make way more sense.

I actually really like the way the code of conduct is built here.

(1) The first element is strongly tied to the specific god via Anathema and the restriction that you can't champion a god who doesn't allow LG Clerics.

(2) The second element reads more to me as pretty generic LG stuff—LG 'turned up to 11'—so it makes sense that a divine champion who really tries to embody LG would be called to abide by these kind of restrictions.

There are downsides, of course. There might be some cases where wholly customized behavior codes by deity would be a bit better of a fit.

But I'd guess that the costs outweigh the benefits from going fully-custom here. Having to write up a detailed Paladin code for each and every deity would be very demanding.

The two-part/modular code of conduct seems better to me. Easier to have the god-specific bit shared with Clerics and then some generic alignment rules. This makes it much easier to expand to new gods, and to new alignments of Paladin.

All in all it looks to me like a solid foundation to build out future options. (And of course I understand that other folks will see it differently!)


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Alexander Augunas wrote:

Sounds cool to me. I especially like the sound of the 19th Level defiance ability.

Question: this makes it sound like litanies are special abilities rather than spells. Are Paladins not spellcasters in 2E?

I'm guessing that they can cast some SLAs (litanies, lay on hands, etc) via spell points, but don't have an actual spell list.

Liberty's Edge

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Cyouni wrote:
Aratrok wrote:
Quote:


You must never willingly commit an evil act, such as murder, torture, or casting an evil spell.
Please don't do this again.
Is there a problem with things being marked evil... Being evil?

When Infernal Healing was printed, it had the evil tag and rules that stated it didn't actually make the target evil.

I believe the intent was that it was still a corrupt method and not mainstream, but what happened is that it was treated by many players as 3.5's lesser vigor, especially in PFS, despite the flavour implications.

Later on the was Horror Adventure's less than perfectly written rule on the corrupting effect of evil-tagged spells, and well, there was a fair bit of controversy.

It doesn't help when there's various pain-inflicting spells that may or may not have the evil tag, and stuff like Murderous Command (which really does sound evil, but isn't!).

Me? I'm all for there being evil-tagged spells. Greater power at a price is a really fun theme, and some profane magic being anathema to Paladins and Clerics of Good deities sounds right to me.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Fantastic, so glad they went with the choice that gives 10 base classes with thousands of character concepts open to them and then the Paladin with a handful. Makes for a really good base class.

Hopefully this will only be for the playtest. Especially if the Paladin is going to fill the defacto armour niche. Sorry devout follower of Gorum our Lord In Iron, you'll have to make do with only Mastery of your armour while that Shelynite over there gets Legendary.

Shadow Lodge

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Xerres wrote:
Only Lawful Good can be this shining champion against Evil, so... kinda means "Best Good" there. Given that other Good alignments are just unable to really channel the righteousness. Or use their armor, apparently.

Cleric, Warpriest, Inquisitor?

Xerres wrote:
As to Gods, Iomedae is the one that closed the Worldwound, Asmodeus is the mastermind destined to control all creation, Zon-Kuthon gets to wear the leather chaps, and Irori became a God by throwing up the horns and daring reality to stop him. And Abadar has a pretty good beard, I like it.

Iomedae's worshipers alternate between being punching bags for whichever writer is angry about organized religion this week, or faceless/viscous goons to slaughter (Hell's Vengeance). Iomedae herself doesn't get away any better, being presented as an violent, iron-fisted weirdo, in the AP ostensibly focused on her... who doesn't even play a major part in sealing the World Wound, since the PCs are the stars of the show, and their coalition actually has relatively few Iomedaeans, given where they are.

Xerres wrote:
Asmodeus is the mastermind destined to control all creation

Asmodeus gets consistently awful mechanics, and has been retconned to be wayyy stupider, in the name of making some social point.

Xerres wrote:
Irori became a God by throwing up the horns and daring reality to stop him.

So did Cayden. One is one of the poster boys for the setting, the other has so little lore most people can't tell you anything beyond his most generic traits.

Xerres wrote:
Contrasting that, Cayden is a drunk that no one cares about

Who gets the second most exposure of any god...

Xerres wrote:
Desna is the one who riled the Abyss enough to make it a problem to begin with.

First off, not true. Second off, Desna gets more exposure than any every other god. The majority of APs have a major Desnan NPC, who is always just super helpful and the bestest person ever, and some even bring in random elements of her faith in places it makes no sense to have. To cap it off, she constantly gets the best feats, archetypes, and domains. Like, Desna is so blatantly Paizo's favorite that it's kinda silly.

Xerres wrote:
Rovagug got slapped down by Sarenrae

Most powerful being in the entire setting, can apparently kill Azathoth.

Xerres wrote:
I think making them Lawful Good only is a big mistake. Its a pointless limitation and its only purpose is elitism as far as I'm concerned. Making it so Lawful Good is Best Good. I find the notion very disappointing.

It's not elitism, it's a reward for purposely taking on a significant challenge.

Silver Crusade

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edduardco wrote:
JoelF847 wrote:

I really hoped paladins would be last - the just and righteous paladin fans could easily have shown humility and waited until other classes were previewed. :)

I'm not a fan that paladins are automatically the best at armor while fighters are with weapons. I hope both at least have options to gain legendary proficiency with both, to allow fighters just as defensively skilled as paladins and paladins just as offensively skilled as fighters.

Wait, proficiency levels are class gated? Where is that from?

See this post with comments from Logan and Mark about proficiency & class.

Mark Seifter wrote:
NielsenE wrote:
Logan Bonner wrote:
NielsenE wrote:

One of the main things I'm still interested in, is that the devs seem to be expecting people to only progress proficiencies as the class gives them to you, rather than spending feats on them.

[. . . ]
Classes are typically the only place where you get above trained (though there are some exceptions). You can usually get a path to trained with most things.

That's definitely worrisome for me. Normally it would be tempered by multiclasses and archetypes, however the little we've heard on those topics make it seem unlikely those tools would solve this problem in 2e. [. . .]

Does this "classes are typically the only place were you get above trained" apply to skills as well? [. . .]

It does not apply to skills or saves. Mostly just weapons, armor/shields, and spells are that way (for example, higher weapon proficiency is a class thing as it acts a lot like having higher BAB does in PF1). And multiclassing and archetypes absolutely do open up more options among those.


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The spirit in a blade or a shield is cool- any chance of it getting a little more personality to it? (Eventual feat to get an angel buddy? Favorite thing about Antipaladin was having a demon to chat with.)

Lay On Hands boosting AC for one round is awesome. The default reaction to retaliate on an ally’s behalf is great for giving enemies a reason to focus on the Paladin. I like that you can build a self-centered build instead that uses Divine Grace and self-healing to be an unkillable force of justice.

Three laws code! Time to go write “I, Paladin”.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

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edduardco wrote:
JoelF847 wrote:

I really hoped paladins would be last - the just and righteous paladin fans could easily have shown humility and waited until other classes were previewed. :)

I'm not a fan that paladins are automatically the best at armor while fighters are with weapons. I hope both at least have options to gain legendary proficiency with both, to allow fighters just as defensively skilled as paladins and paladins just as offensively skilled as fighters.

Wait, proficiency levels are class gated? Where is that from?

From Mark's comments in this thread.

Mark Seifter wrote:
It does not apply to skills or saves. Mostly just weapons, armor/shields, and spells are that way (for example, higher weapon proficiency is a class thing as it acts a lot like having higher BAB does in PF1). And multiclassing and archetypes absolutely do open up more options among those.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I’m tentstively optimistic. I’m a little disappointed that paladins of every alignment aren’t in the playtest, but I hold out hope they’ll make the cut for core.

Moving litanies to core was a good move, as was oaths.


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I maintain that any class in the core book should not be restricted to a single alignment.

That being said, almost everything about this seems like an improvement over the existing way Paladins are handled. Giving the code an order of priority will reduce the likelyhood of no win situations where regardless of choice the Paladin falls. Having god specific rules is also good.


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Overall, sounds great. About falling though...

I get that maybe Paizo wants to cushion the blow to leave the class with some viable features even after falling, but "keep everything but Spell Points and Righteous Ally" seems a bit too generous. It doesn't seem like Smite was even discussed, so I can't really say whether it is included within those mechanics or not. But even ignoring Smite, it would seem normal spell casting is included in abilities you keep. Whereas a Cleric who falls loses their spellcasting (assuming nothing changed there).

I just don't see how if you no longer are LG and are grossly violating the Code, why you would be casting spells drawn on power of cosmic Lawful Goodness. If my Paladin wakes up and says "You know, I decided those Demon Worshippers get all the fun, I'm gonna burn me some orphanages today and piss on the altar of my good dear Lawful Goody Two Shoes Deity" I don't want them to keep casting Paladin spells. (or Smiting)

Really, with changes to Code, Paizo has already made falling alot less of constant worry... It should be alot easier to not violate it. So when you do violate it, I kind of expect there to be meaningful repurcussions for doing so, because otherwise why waste so much space of the Code in first place? Simultaneously making Falling much more avoidable AND reducing it's impact this much (retaining spellcasting and possibly other magical powers) seems like it's trying to "fix" issue from both ends when only one end is needed. I feel like retaining Spells and potentially Smite or other "Supernatural" powers we don't know about (which don't fall under Spell Points / Righteous Ally) is just too much supernatural power retained... Falling from connection with cosmic Lawful Goodness should not mean you retain cosmic Lawful Good powers.

That said, I think the general idea that a Fallen Paladin would still have some relevant powers is valid. Those can be (Ex) type abilities, nothing says every single Paladin ability must be (Su), and (Ex) would be logical to retain. Also, there is idea that "having powers" does not require "having [some of] the SAME powers". "Fallen Paladin Powers" could be own genre (~Grey Paladin?) perhaps equally touching all Alignment aspects (but not especially strong in any one), although this also leads into idea of "Fallen Paladin" potentially transitioning into "Anti Paladin" or "Paladin of Freedom" etc. Clerics can switch to worshipping a new deity, the idea of Fallen Paladin wholly embracing the new ways of different path doesn't seem far off... yet of course not serviced by P1E rules. That has been done by PrCs in past I believe, but IMHO it is ripe to include within core mechanic of Falling and redemption (as alternate to returning to LG fold), even if the Other Alignment Paladins won't yet exist (in Core Rules).


Paladin has never been a huge priority for me as a player, so many other classes I enjoy more. But as of late I've been thinking of building one just to get out of my comfort zone. Now that I have seen this preview I think I may hold it off until I get my hands on the Playtest.


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Evil damage, you say?


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It is my sincere hope that PF2 will allow for Paladins that are less "Champions of a Deity" but are more "Champions of Fundamental Truths" more in line with the Oracle or Shaman rather than the Cleric.

Since I want to be able to play a Paladin who does not know where their powers come from, so they are more committed to ideals than obeisance.

Sovereign Court

Wermut wrote:
Darkorin wrote:
I'm quite disappointed to learn that the Paladin does not seem to use the anathema mechanic (which seemed perfect to build Paladins of all Alignments), or at least a version of the anathema mechanic.
Blog wrote:
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.

What I meant was that Anathema does not replace the Paladin's code. The Paladin's code and Anathema serves the same purpose, tell you what is accepted or not accepted for your belief/code/god.


Well, for personal reasons I won't be playing many Paladins in the playtest then. Hoping for a CG Champion soon then.

As for the actual contents... First thing I note is that Paladin is now all-but-banned from a converted Hell's Rebels, hard to respect someone's lawful authority when you're actively working to overthrow them. The tenet tiering is cool though, and I'm fairly okay with the deity connection (an interesting choice but I'm fairly okay with it.) LoH at 1 is great, though it'll need testing with sword-n-board and two-handed builds of course (particularly the latter given what we know about Interact now.) The AC boost from LoH is a really interesting addition.


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Disk Elemental wrote:
It's not elitism, it's a reward for purposely taking on a significant challenge.

Counterpoint: So is every thought through character concept? Defining "playing LG by the book" is hardly a character concept at all and therefore no challenge at all.


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I do find it amusing that after them saying repeatedly they want to try the more daring, broader approach for most things in the playtest, because it can be scaled back in editing if it doesn't work... They take the most timid, traditionalist option possible for the Paladin re alignment, and hamstring it for future options and archetypes compared to all the other classes with much more open flavor and design space.


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Quandary wrote:


I get that maybe Paizo wants to cushion the blow to leave the class with some viable features even after falling, but "keep everything but Spell Points and Righteous Ally" seems a bit too generous. It doesn't seem like Smite was even discussed, so I can't really say whether it is included within those mechanics or not. But even ignoring Smite, it would seem normal spell casting is included in abilities you keep. Whereas a Cleric who falls loses their spellcasting (assuming nothing changed there).

Are we sure they still get spells, outside of abilities they access via spell points? They weren't mentioned.


Quandary wrote:

Overall, sounds great. About falling though...

I get that maybe Paizo wants to cushion the blow to leave the class with some viable features even after falling, but "keep everything but Spell Points and Righteous Ally" seems a bit too generous. It doesn't seem like Smite was even discussed, so I can't really say whether it is included within those mechanics or not. But even ignoring Smite, it would seem normal spell casting is included in abilities you keep. Whereas a Cleric who falls loses their spellcasting (assuming nothing changed there).

LOL. The correct reading here is regular spellcasting doesn't exist anymore, so it can't be lost. You only get LOH and any additional spell point using features that you pick up (via fixed advancement or class feats) along the way.

Smite is somehow tied to righteous ally, which is lost if you fall.


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Initial thoughts:

LG Only... Yay... I know people will point out in the Playtest only and a couple discussions I have already had believe that non-LG will be in the core... But yay. If they happen (if, not when) I can handle them being archetypes in a splat book.

I like the idea that the new code is a tier system. So you can break a lower code in order to keep a higher code. This stops a lot of the problematic GM options.

Not a fan that falling had its teeth ripped out and replaced with gummy soft dentures but, eh... Sure.

Ouch... Hero's defiance got moved to level 19... That stings.

Not a fan of them being the "Tanky AC class" as I don't like the sword and board pally, but guess that is what they are expected to do in PF2.

All in all mixed feelings. I wish Smite Evil was explained, it was mentioned, but not explained.


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111phantom wrote:
What's the line between Commiting Murder (the highest restricted tenant) and smiting evil foes?

Phantom I think the distinction (or at least how I was distinct them at my table) would be intent and context.

Killing an Evil Warlord in his sleep so that he can't burn a village of farmers to the ground in the morning would be Murder.

Killing that same Evil Warlord in the fields outside the village as you do battle with his forces to protect the farmers and their village would not.

But that's just how I would read it.


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To be honest once it said LG only I stopped reading.

Silver Crusade

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Quandary wrote:
I get that maybe Paizo wants to cushion the blow to leave the class with some viable features even after falling, but "keep everything but Spell Points and Righteous Ally" seems a bit too generous. It doesn't seem like Smite was even discussed, so I can't really say whether it is included within those mechanics or not. But even ignoring Smite, it would seem normal spell casting is included in abilities you keep. Whereas a Cleric who falls loses their spellcasting (assuming nothing changed there).

I don't know. If many/most of the Paladin abilities are powered by Spell Points, and if the Righteous Ally feature is big, this could be a huge blow.

Somebody upthread was speculating the Paladins may have lost 'normal' casting and cast spells only via Spell Points. I wouldn't be too surprised if that were true.

But yeah, this is probably best assessed in the Playtest when we have a sense of how it all fits together.

(Side-note: very glad that atone is moved over to ritual magic. That's a great fit.)


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I think this hits the nail right on the head. I'm of the opinion that paladins should be Lawful Good. Always have been, always will be.

No one is saying you can't be an evil holy warrior.
They're saying you can't be an evil paladin - because paladins are lawful good.


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1. SERVE THE PUBLIC TRUST
2. PROTECT THE INNOCENT
3. UPHOLD THE LAW
4. (CLASSIFIED)


gj! i wanna play that paladin now


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Darkorin wrote:
Wermut wrote:
Darkorin wrote:
I'm quite disappointed to learn that the Paladin does not seem to use the anathema mechanic (which seemed perfect to build Paladins of all Alignments), or at least a version of the anathema mechanic.
Blog wrote:
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.
What I meant was that Anathema does not replace the Paladin's code. The Paladin's code and Anathema serves the same purpose, tell you what is accepted or not accepted for your belief/code/god.

They way I read it is that Anathema as well as the Paladin's Code are in effect. A Paladin of Shelyn might have to find a different solution within the code than a paladin of Iomadae might take. Because Anathema as well as Code are to be fulfilled.


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Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:

It is my sincere hope that PF2 will allow for Paladins that are less "Champions of a Deity" but are more "Champions of Fundamental Truths" more in line with the Oracle or Shaman rather than the Cleric.

Since I want to be able to play a Paladin who does not know where their powers come from, so they are more committed to ideals than obeisance.

I'd prefer that divine powers come from an actual divine source not from out of nowhere. What is "divine" without a divinity?


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Am I the only one who still isn't sure what Righteous Ally actually is?

Disk Elemental wrote:


Also, I really don't like Divine Grace being a reaction--it forces the Paladin to stop defending their allies in order to protect themselves, which is antithetical to the class's fluff. It also looks like it'll lead to reaction choke between Divine Grace, Retributive Strike, Shield Usage, and Attack of Opportunity.

Reaction chokes are fine. You have no way of knowing which reaction will get triggered on any given turn, and it seems unlikely that if one is triggered you can count on a second being triggered that same turn. Having a lot of them just ensures they are almost always getting to be reactive. Plus, they will probably gain something like the second shield reaction mentioned in the fighter blog.


Joe M. wrote:
See this post with comments from Logan and Mark about proficiency & class.
JoelF847 wrote:
From Mark's comments in this thread.

Thanks Joe and Joel

mmmm interesting, I guess is some of those things I will need to wait and see the complete document in order evaluate it, for now I'm expectant


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Captain Morgan wrote:
Am I the only one who still isn't sure what Righteous Ally actually is?

It's Divine Bond with a different name.


I loved it! My ever favorite character is here, again ^^

Now, the code stuff is really interesting, and probably cuts down 95% of all Paladin issues. I'll wait to see about Paladins of other alignments. Well, the core being this one, I'm good, so far.
The abilities seem really interesting and very Paladin-flavored.
The only thing I'm slightly worried is about the Paladin needing a deity to work.
I understand it takes a lot of time to talk about deity-less Paladins and clerics and all else, so I'm fine with this option being core. Just don't forget them when you publish a splatbook about creating alternative pantheons and cosmologies ^^
Ah, I may even allow the other Paladins at my table. One of my ex-players runs a NPC pirate CG Paladin while DMing. While clearly outside the usual alignment, he is a cool character.

I understand why Paizo will take that route. Core being LG-only and splatbooks allowing other stuff is a decades-old mechanism, with little backlash. No real need to change here.

By all of these articles, I'm very interested in the playtest ^^


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Happy to see the code handled similarly to the Three Laws of Robotics.

Hoping to see (especially for the Paladin, but for PF2 in general as well) more support for intimidation (morale based debuffs) in battle that comes online before 10-15th level, and doesn't require evil classes/feats. Shining glory of righteousness or sheer overwhelming physical prowess can also be intimidating. Intimidation is not solely the realm of evil, debased villains.

Liberty's Edge

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Xerres wrote:
Contrasting that, Cayden is a drunk that no one cares about, Calistria's only notable feat was messing with the Abyss, and Desna is the one who riled the Abyss enough to make it a problem to begin with. Gorum is God of Warriors, so he's inferior to the Neutral God of Magic on principle. Rovagug got slapped down by Sarenrae, and Lamashtu is stupid and junk.

I don't want to derail this thread with a huge argument, but I'd just like to note I disagree with this whole paragraph more than I thought was humanly possible.

Quandary wrote:
But even ignoring Smite, it would seem normal spell casting is included in abilities you keep. Whereas a Cleric who falls loses their spellcasting (assuming nothing changed there).

Who says they have normal spell casting? The only spells mentioned are Litanies, which could easily be a Spell Point effect.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Demon Lord of Paladins! wrote:
To be honest once it said LG only I stopped reading.

they said they are starting with LG only for the playtest, and they do plan on releasing other alignment versions later.


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Zaister wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

It is my sincere hope that PF2 will allow for Paladins that are less "Champions of a Deity" but are more "Champions of Fundamental Truths" more in line with the Oracle or Shaman rather than the Cleric.

Since I want to be able to play a Paladin who does not know where their powers come from, so they are more committed to ideals than obeisance.

I'd prefer that divine powers come from an actual divine source not from out of nowhere. What is "divine" without a divinity?

Well, from whence do oracles, druids, and shamans get their powers? All of them are divine spellcasters, per PF1, but none of them specifically refer to a deity. All I want is the option to play a Paladin who is more like that, not that "all paladins are like that."

I'm more than willing to wait for whatever book the oracle is in, if that's what it takes.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

It is my sincere hope that PF2 will allow for Paladins that are less "Champions of a Deity" but are more "Champions of Fundamental Truths" more in line with the Oracle or Shaman rather than the Cleric.

Since I want to be able to play a Paladin who does not know where their powers come from, so they are more committed to ideals than obeisance.

Well with Deity Anathema built into Code, what they've revealed so far is MORE Deity centric than P1E, which has fluff assuming worship of Deity but nothing actually connecting Deity with granted class powers (outside of Archetypes doing that). People are often confused about that, so clearing it up is fine... But I don't see why they need to move so far from P1E norm in that regard. Perhaps offer Deity-agnostic Paladin Orders which can be chosen in lieu of Deity powers/Anathema? That allows for Paladin drawing powers from "cosmic Lawful Goodness" more than any one specific Deity. (I personally like the Deity focus, but don't see that as central to P1E Paladin, and think it's very valid to follow non-Deity-specific route)


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Hrodwulf wrote:
111phantom wrote:
What's the line between Commiting Murder (the highest restricted tenant) and smiting evil foes?

Phantom I think the distinction (or at least how I was distinct them at my table) would be intent and context.

Killing an Evil Warlord in his sleep so that he can't burn a village of farmers to the ground in the morning would be Murder.

Killing that same Evil Warlord in the fields outside the village as you do battle with his forces to protect the farmers and their village would not.

But that's just how I would read it.

Pretty much. Killing does not necessarily equals murder, despite what many pacifists say :)


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I think the Paladin sounds rather awesome.

The hierarchical structure for the code is a good call. That will definitely help to alleviate many compromising situations.

Using feats to customize class features sounds cool and it is nice to see the litanies return.

Nice job.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
Am I the only one who still isn't sure what Righteous Ally actually is?

It looks like it's just the divine bond of the PF1 Paladin but now at 3rd level. And you get "smite related" boosts (maybe automatically, maybe via class feat) as you advance that are attached to it. I'm guessing that means more damage on your weapons, reactive damage on your shield, and a buff on your mount/summon. Traditional smite seems to be gone.


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Joe M. wrote:
Quandary wrote:
I get that maybe Paizo wants to cushion the blow to leave the class with some viable features even after falling, but "keep everything but Spell Points and Righteous Ally" seems a bit too generous. It doesn't seem like Smite was even discussed, so I can't really say whether it is included within those mechanics or not. But even ignoring Smite, it would seem normal spell casting is included in abilities you keep. Whereas a Cleric who falls loses their spellcasting (assuming nothing changed there).

I don't know. If many/most of the Paladin abilities are powered by Spell Points, and if the Righteous Ally feature is big, this could be a huge blow.

Somebody upthread was speculating the Paladins may have lost 'normal' casting and cast spells only via Spell Points. I wouldn't be too surprised if that were true.

But yeah, this is probably best assessed in the Playtest when we have a sense of how it all fits together.

(Side-note: very glad that atone is moved over to ritual magic. That's a great fit.)

Yeah, I'm under the impression Paladins are losing normal spellcasting as well. Seems consistent with having fewer spell lists. Wonder if the Ranger will follow the same example. Might be cool if Favored Enemy is replaced with something closer to Instant Enemy/Studied Target, that also provides the Ranger the ability to track an escaped enemy with relentless skill.


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Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Zaister wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

It is my sincere hope that PF2 will allow for Paladins that are less "Champions of a Deity" but are more "Champions of Fundamental Truths" more in line with the Oracle or Shaman rather than the Cleric.

Since I want to be able to play a Paladin who does not know where their powers come from, so they are more committed to ideals than obeisance.

I'd prefer that divine powers come from an actual divine source not from out of nowhere. What is "divine" without a divinity?
Well, from whence do oracles, druids, and shamans get their powers? All of them are divine spellcasters, per PF1, but none of them specifically refer to a deity. All I want is the option to play a Paladin who is more like that, not that "all paladins are like that."

I know, and I've never liked that. It makes no sense to me. I'd rather see all of these moved to requiring a divine allegiance. Divine power should not come out of thin air or from a character's own will or whatnot.


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Disk Elemental wrote:
Xerres wrote:
Only Lawful Good can be this shining champion against Evil, so... kinda means "Best Good" there. Given that other Good alignments are just unable to really channel the righteousness. Or use their armor, apparently.
Cleric, Warpriest, Inquisitor?

Which Lawful Good can do as well. Lawful Good has all their classes, and the ultimate champion of righteousness. And armor. Neutral Good and Chaotic Good are incapable of creating Ultimate Champions of Righteousness and Armor, because they are not Best Good.

Disk Elemental wrote:
God Stuff.

I was generally joking there. But Cayden drunkenly stumbled into Godhood, Irori is the one who outright dared reality to stop him.

Desna is definitely the favored God of the setting, no argument there.

And Rovagug is weaker than Pharasma, and got slapped down by Sarenrae. They couldn't kill him, but by feats, Sarenrae tossed him around like Swayze in Road House.

Disk Elemental wrote:
It's not elitism, it's a reward for purposely taking on a significant challenge.

Why should that be rewarded? Are people not playing Paladins because they enjoy it? I wasn't fibbing when I said Lawful Good is my favorite alignment. My Samurai follows Ichimeiyo (Dragon Empires Gazeteer had a Code that Warriors in Tian Xia follow) and the Paladin Code of Shizuru, and a personal Code relating to his family and school of combat.

I get no rewards for following any of those, but I play the character that way because its fun. That's also why I play Paladins, its fun. Why I play the game to begin with, its fun.

Lawful Good doesn't need to be rewarded. You should play it if you think that's fun to do, and not play it if you don't. That's it.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Xenocrat wrote:
Quandary wrote:

Overall, sounds great. About falling though...

I get that maybe Paizo wants to cushion the blow to leave the class with some viable features even after falling, but "keep everything but Spell Points and Righteous Ally" seems a bit too generous. It doesn't seem like Smite was even discussed, so I can't really say whether it is included within those mechanics or not. But even ignoring Smite, it would seem normal spell casting is included in abilities you keep. Whereas a Cleric who falls loses their spellcasting (assuming nothing changed there).

LOL. The correct reading here is regular spellcasting doesn't exist anymore, so it can't be lost. You only get LOH and any additional spell point using features that you pick up (via fixed advancement or class feats) along the way.

Smite is somehow tied to righteous ally, which is lost if you fall.

Agreed. I’m assuming the same will be true of Rangers.

Bloodragers (whenever they get around to them) I’m less sure of.


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Darkorin wrote:
Wermut wrote:
Darkorin wrote:
I'm quite disappointed to learn that the Paladin does not seem to use the anathema mechanic (which seemed perfect to build Paladins of all Alignments), or at least a version of the anathema mechanic.
Blog wrote:
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.
What I meant was that Anathema does not replace the Paladin's code. The Paladin's code and Anathema serves the same purpose, tell you what is accepted or not accepted for your belief/code/god.

I think the reason for both is to save on text. The "Code" is something that is universal to all Paladins regardless of their deity. This is your default settings. The "Anathema" is additional lines to the code that are Deity specific.

I mean sure they could have rolled it all into one thing but then you would have to restate several aspects of the Code/Anathema when it would be more efficient for print space to do it as they day. My big question is with the prioritization of the different tenets in the code where does the Anathema fit? Does protecting Art for Shelyn supersede protecting an innocent, or vice versa?

I mean realistically you'll probably be very unlikely to run into a conflict between the two, (unless you have a diabolical DM *shifty eyes*), but seeing as how they added prioritization I'm curious to see if Anathema fits into it.


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Captain Morgan wrote:

Am I the only one who still isn't sure what Righteous Ally actually is?

Disk Elemental wrote:


Also, I really don't like Divine Grace being a reaction--it forces the Paladin to stop defending their allies in order to protect themselves, which is antithetical to the class's fluff. It also looks like it'll lead to reaction choke between Divine Grace, Retributive Strike, Shield Usage, and Attack of Opportunity.
Reaction chokes are fine. You have no way of knowing which reaction will get triggered on any given turn, and it seems unlikely that if one is triggered you can count on a second being triggered that same turn. Having a lot of them just ensures they are almost always getting to be reactive. Plus, they will probably gain something like the second shield reaction mentioned in the fighter blog.

What, did you forget how bad Charmed Life was? Because that's what the new Divine Grace is.


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I'm assuming the lack of a mention of mounts is because there is going to be a blog about companion creatures at some point, and not because the iconic paladin mount has been quietly done away with.

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