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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And Yeah, Paladins shouldn't gain Legendary Armor INSTEAD OF The Fighter. If it was the case where Fighter gained Legendary Weapons AND Armor, I'd be fine with it, but this just feels weird.


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Dang, I really wanted a CG Liberator Paladin right from the start!

Nice to see the code becoming more flexible, though.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

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I have removed a couple of posts. Lets stop with attributing malicious intent to the people working on the game.


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Quandary wrote:

The 'they don't know you're using Poison' argument seems silly.

I mean, what if you tell them you are? I don't see a rule against Invisible Greatswords.

Disclosing that you are using poison would certainly be more honorable than not, wouldn't you agree? But what if the target couldn't understand you? They can certainly see your blade aflame and decide whether or not to fight and how to fight based on that, but they wouldn't know your weapon was poisoned.

I would think a Paladin pretending to be unarmed (via an invisible weapon)and then striking her opponent would violate the requirement to be honorable.

Liberty's Edge

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

Charmed Life is actually great on anyone who doesn't need their Swift actions (or Reactions in the new system) for anything else (note that I said need, not want). Especially if you give it out an unlimited number of times per day (as this version seems likely to be). Especially in combination with decent Saves even without it.

Unfortunately, in PF1 they gave it to the Swashbuckler who desperately needed their Swift actions in order to actually operate in the way they were intended and had terrible Saves without it. And had to compare it to PF1 Divine Grace.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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Bearing in mind I had no major issues against the 1e paladin, I like this one so far even better with everything to do except the stuff the blog said about alignment. I like how flexible the class feels in terms of combat and ability build and it feels like it will be easier to track class abilities. I like the general suggestion that paladins will be adjustable to other povs than the traditional champion of the past.

That said, I am deeply disappointed in the deep mechanics-based attachment to alignment and to codes. IMO if the paladin is to remain viable, approachable by, and appealing to the largest audience, especially newer gamers who are used to more flexibility, these weights need to be removed. In particular, I was very much hoping that alignment would become more of an RP guide and theme for monsters BUT not mechanical drive any class abilities, period. (Reducing it would also be preferable... my takeaway from the way the blog was written is that 2e paladins will even be MORE alignment focused than in 1e and I really don't like that.)

Given the establishment of anathema for clerics, and noting they are mentioned in the paladin section, I would be very keen to see the limitations of paladins go no further than "obey the tenets of your god and don't do anathema things." Paladin stuff and cleric stuff should overlap in these places and that should be fine.

And if we HAVE to have codes, I'd much rather see codes made more of "do"s than "do not"s. Do protect [thing that is important to your deity] whenever you are able. Do fight [enemies of your deity] when they threaten your mission.

One thing that my admittedly fast read of the blog seemed unclear to me--is the limitation to LG for just running the playtest, or was it implying only LG paladins will be core?

I really want 2e to tear apart old traditions and preconceptions where they no longer serve the game. I want the developers to be brave enough to really, really, really change things and put things in a new serviceable direction, not just repeat old things masked with a fresh coat of paint. A lot of the conversation I'm seeing here in this thread is why I really wish all of the "traditional" classes had in fact been entirely scrapped and 2e could bring us all new ones can better suit concepts people want to play these days. Too much baggage and conflicting notions based on faulty nostalgia that ensures no one will ever be able to just have unimpeded fun playing a holy warrior class.


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Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
And Yeah, Paladins shouldn't gain Legendary Armor INSTEAD OF The Fighter. If it was the case where Fighter gained Legendary Weapons AND Armor, I'd be fine with it, but this just feels weird.

As I understand it, anyone can be legendary at anything if they invest in it with feats. It's just that for many proficiencies, your primary advancement is through your class. So the fighter gets legendary weapons, just through fighter levels, but if they want legendary armor you will need to spend some kind of feats to get there.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I want to like the Paladin. The whole concept of the Paladin is amazing. The guy that goes and fights the evil... the destroyer of evil. Then we hit the Lawful good shenanigans. Then I wanted to stop reading. But I said no, wait it will be worth it. I kept reading only to find out, I wasted my time. I am not at all happy with the Paladin. I hope that Paizo does remove this restriction. From what I have seen 5th edition doesn't have alignment restrictions. I hate how the monk is bound to only lawful or the barbarian is bound to non lawful. These are absurd restrictions that hinder the classes. I see more people playing Fighte's, Bards, Rogues, because they aren't alignment restricted. What is wrong with a monk who is chaotic or a barbarian being lawful?

I liked lets give the Paladin all the extreme alignments. I hate the fact that I have to be LAWFUL GOOD just to play a Paladin.

I have seen several people hate the whole concept of the deities being tied in with the classes. REALLY, people YOU WORSHIP A DEITY, so why wouldn't you have to follow their code or ways. Now you get punished for not doing so. I don't understand why this is even an issue. Seems like people want to worship a deity for the abilities then do whatever you want.

I hate seeing people play clerics and war priests that worship a deity and then not follow their code and not truly be punished. Now it is even more tied in.


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jedi8187 wrote:
Why can only LN, LG, and NG deities have champion warriors of their faith? If you are going to have paladins as champions of the faith they need to be open to all or most deities. If you want them to be the knight in shining armor archetype drop the champion of faith aspect. This is why the War Priest was created in first edition.

Yeah... Bringing up War Priest undermines your conceit. LG Paladin does not imply non-LG champions of faith don't exist. Be that War Priests, or alt-Paladins ala Antipaladin, Tyrants, Liberators, etc. If Paizo tomorrow announces they are releasing all Alignment Extreme Champion classes in Core, nothing about Paladin changed. Nothing they are doing implies anything about future implementation of those concepts.

I think they are great concepts and can do well with own class, even P1e Antipaladin felt a bit strained IMHO (as defacto archetype of Paladin), but that's what you get when taking that approach. IMHO they deserve to be at least as distinct as Druids from Clerics, does even the 'armor' focus (mostly proficiency from what we know) fit a CE Antipaladin psychopath?


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I wish Martial classes like Fighter and Paladin could choose to an extent where they want their higher level gear proficiencies, so I can gear my fighter to play tank better. Or go for weapon proficiencies for a paladin dedicated to the smiting side of things.

I hope sawing things off into class feats don't make classes be thinner than they were before.

Also where's Site and Detect evil?

Oh, and kinda importantly missing from the blog...

How high up is your deity's Anathema in the tenets priority ranking?

Would preserving art be higher or lower than not comitting an evil act? Or is not striking first below following local laws?


I would have liked to have seen more information on abilities and mechanics, but I think you made the right choice for prioritising code of conduct.

I think the code will work well. I actually like that paladins are tied to a deity and get anathema.

I like the direction that you are taking this. Paladins are definitely my favorite martial class in PFe1.

I seems like you are moving away from smite evil being a straight damage booster. I think this a a good thing from a balance perspective. It was a moderate boost at early levels but it got out of hand at level 11, trivialising a lot of evil encounters.

I am glad they still get the option of a mount. This is one of my favorite class features. It seems like you can pick an choose a lot more class abilities, which I really like.

It seems like Paladins will be very fear resistent, but no long immune, which I think is great. Probably similar with charms the like.

I really like that paladins are being pushed towards a protection niche. I think that worked very well in PFe1 and I am looking forward to learning more.

It would be interesting if spell casting is being replaced with spell point spenders. I am the fence about this. I think it is worth trying. I always only prepared long duration buff spells (1 hour/level) or instantaneous spells; Saddle Surge being the only grossly overpowered exception.

Overall very happy.

Druid next week?


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I have a serious problem calling the class itself Paladin in the playtest, which has a specific meaning, and then saying that later this class will spread to other deities and alignments. Does that mean a CN Holy Warrior of Gorum, who fights to prove his strength in battle, and puts victory over all other pursuits and concerns, will still be called a 'Paladin of Gorum'?

That is a huge literary problem for me. A Paladin is a very specific type of warrior, with a very specific set of ideals. I'm not saying that a 'Paladin' should not exist, but it should be a specific name for specific holy warriors of specific deities, NOT the name of a mechanical class that is just as suited to going completely against those specific ideals.

I would much rather the class be called Warpriest, and then have a deity specific name listed as part of the Deity entry near their 'Warpriest Code' description - that specifies the name. So on paper, you could write the class as either:

Warpriest (Gorum) 1
- or -
Iron Knight 1

This is not dissimilar to calling a Wizard specializing in Divination a Diviner 1.

Is there a true mechanical reason to stick with the Paladin name for the class? Sure, quite a few deities could still call their followers variations on the Paladin name, when it makes sense, but the class itself being called such will just continue the constant disagreements the contradiction will cause (and always have caused).


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.

I think killing the evil warlord in his sleep is the point where the Paladin gives a wink to the Rogue and looks the other way.


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So here's one reason I don't like the idea of "a Paladin is a Champion of a Deity". I want every deity to have their champions, but I can't conceive of a champion of Besmara or Nethys or Gorum as something that should be called "Paladin."

From where I sit, a Paladin is essentially someone who is so righteous they have magic powers, a hero who is defined by their deep and total commitment not only for doing the right thing but for doing the right thing in the right way. So I feel like "Paladin" and "Lawful Good" are inextricable.

But I nonetheless want champions for Ng, Nivi Rhombodazzle, and Groetus, I just don't want those things to be called Paladins. I would prefer the deity requirement was a property of Warpriests, rather than Paladins.


In PF1, due to the lower casting level, "offensive" paladin spells did not really scale well. With lower DCs and effects, they almost felt like a waste. It is almost better to spend spell slots on self buff spells. Has this been changed at all or rebalanced for the PF2 version?

Another note, with the mention of spell points, what will the paladin spend them on? Are they similar to the Cleric where we get special abilities based on our Deity?

Do paladins still have Channel Positive Energy? While it is a nice option, I almost never used it. But with how the clerics get a new channel energy, will Paladins see it also? Was Variant Channeling also not popular to make a non-core thing core? It added more spice to a somewhat boring ability.

Since you included oaths and litanies, super cool non-core things I also use, was variant divine bonds not popular as well? I can see how it was not compatible when people chose certain archetypes but what about others? Did anyone here also use variant divine bonds? I especially like the Agathion Bond for my healing focused Paladin I built.

Overall, just the idea that talks for more alignment freedom is happening brings me hope.


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Micheal Smith wrote:


I liked lets give the Paladin all the extreme alignments. I hate the fact that I have to be LAWFUL GOOD just to play a Paladin.

As I see discussions on the Lawful aspect I find myself wondering what other's definition of Lawful is. My groups have always taken a semi-fluid definition of this. For some examples, my LG Cleric, there was God's Law and Man's Law, when the two came into conflict God's Law always won was our decision. Another odd one I did was a LN Rogue, had quite a few in my group balk at the idea of a Rogue that had to "follow the law", but the way it was worked out between my DM and I was the rogue was knave for hire, and he always kept the word of his contract, this was the "Law" he followed and bound himself to. Which of course led to some interesting situations when the contract would eventually work against him and put him in hotter water than he wanted. But that was all in the fun of the role.

Now granted that's not something that would fly in every group and is always up for interpretation, but just something I thought I'd float out there.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
And Yeah, Paladins shouldn't gain Legendary Armor INSTEAD OF The Fighter. If it was the case where Fighter gained Legendary Weapons AND Armor, I'd be fine with it, but this just feels weird.
As I understand it, anyone can be legendary at anything if they invest in it with feats. It's just that for many proficiencies, your primary advancement is through your class. So the fighter gets legendary weapons, just through fighter levels, but if they want legendary armor you will need to spend some kind of feats to get there.

Mark said that for weapons, armor, and spellcasting you mostly can't get past trained via feats, it's limited to class advancement. Mostly.


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Quandary wrote:
jedi8187 wrote:
Why can only LN, LG, and NG deities have champion warriors of their faith? If you are going to have paladins as champions of the faith they need to be open to all or most deities. If you want them to be the knight in shining armor archetype drop the champion of faith aspect. This is why the War Priest was created in first edition.

Yeah... Bringing up War Priest undermines your conceit. LG Paladin does not imply non-LG champions of faith don't exist. Be that War Priests, or alt-Paladins ala Antipaladin, Tyrants, Liberators, etc. If Paizo tomorrow announces they are releasing all Alignment Extreme Champion classes in Core, nothing about Paladin changed. Nothing they are doing implies anything about future implementation of those concepts.

I think they are great concepts and can do well with own class, even P1e Antipaladin felt a bit strained IMHO (as defacto archetype of Paladin), but that's what you get when taking that approach. IMHO they deserve to be at least as distinct as Druids from Clerics, does even the 'armor' focus (mostly proficiency from what we know) fit a CE Antipaladin psychopath?

War Priest is my conceit so it doesn't undermine it. They had to introduce a new class, or classes if you include anti-paladin, and archetypes to cover these ideas because the base version was too limiting to allow them. That's my whole point.

If they were adding War Priest to core I would be fine. But they aren't at the moment, and since the Paladin is still tied to faith alongside it's alignment I'd wager they aren't planning on doing it soon. So yes I want them to make the base version more open, instead of waiting half a decade to be able to play my CG champion of *insert CG deity*.


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Darkorin wrote:

Here paizo is currently choosing how we should roleplay instead of giving us a system to play with.

I have to disagree. Paizo is giving a framework of what a paladin is primarily concerned with. It only controls role-playing as much as the pattern of a sonnet or a haiku controls poetry. It tells nothing about attitude, style, personality, or anything other than what a paladin is sworn to uphold. It doesn't touch on motivation or method. The only fetters on the class are honor and virtue. That leaves a lot of room to role-play a variety of heroes.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Charmed Life is actually great on anyone who doesn't need their Swift actions (or Reactions in the new system) for anything else (note that I said need, not want). Especially if you give it out an unlimited number of times per day (as this version seems likely to be).

Agreed, and you remind me my thoughts on Smite were tending to... thinking it should just be unlimited per day. Sure, still activated by an action, so you might not be smiting EVERY single evil mook swarming you, but just every single evil opponent you decide to smite. Actually leaving it powered by Spell Points would be ALOT more Smites than P1E, so I think the difference between that and "unlimited" is less than the difference to current Smites/day. There could be 'standard Smite' for 1 Spell Point and augmented versions that use more Spell Points but still use the same action to activate.

EDIT: There is idea Smite would be too powerful if it was unlimited, because Evil enemies are more common than given Favored Enemy type. Of course, it can be balanced with more common usage, but that isn't really huge distinction IMHO. Paladin fights Evil enemies because that is their personality choice. A genocidal Ranger can fight their Favored Enemies as much as Paladin does Evil, similar personality choice.

I see people posting about "If Smite is in game, Detect Evil needs to be" which I feel revolves around desire to not waste a (very limited) Smite, right? Well if they were unlimited, that concern doesn't exist. (Not that I am arguing against including Detect Evil, but this seemed adjacent to frequency/usages of Smite topic) At most all you lose would be the action to activate Smite. And if you used Detect Evil that would be action itself.

Speaking of which, I personally dislike how Detect Evil (etc) work, i.e. testing for one specific component. If a Paladin Detects Evil, IMHO it should tell what kind of Evil it is, i.e. NE, CE, LE. Why not, especially since Paladin is about Law as well as Good?( (not saying they need ability to distinguish CN from NG, for example, just that Detect Evil could be not so limited in focus) Some detection abilities released late in P1E seemed to work more like this, telling you actual alignment more than 'testing for presence of preselected alignment component'.


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CraziFuzzy wrote:
I have a serious problem calling the class itself Paladin in the playtest, which has a specific meaning, and then saying that later this class will spread to other deities and alignments.

Just to clarify. That isn't what they said.

In fact that have come out and said that, at the moment, there are no plans to open them up. All they said was that it is a possibility in the future.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Quandary wrote:
, does even the 'armor' focus (mostly proficiency from what we know) fit a CE Antipaladin psychopath?

Yes, actually. Even destroyers have minions and dupes they could make last longer by taking a swing or two, even the most selfish could use abilities like hero’s defiance and the lay on hands/raise shield combo.

Further, even the anti-evil abilities might see use in the hands of an evil champion. Asmodeus in particular likes a tidy universe. Demons are very untidy individuals, he might empower a handful for the specific task of opposing them.

Honestly, I was a little surprised by the lack of more alignments. Hellknights in particular live and die by their armor, take oaths and anathemas, and call on divine power to augment their abilities. It’s not the only way to do Hellknights, but it seems like a really obvious way to go about it.


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Oh, guys. I'll be honest.

If we have Alignment in the game, there must be mechanics, the Paladin must be LG, the Cleric must be compatible to his/her deity, etc.

Simply because this is what alignment is. It's not a bug, nor necessarily something everyone thinks it's good. It's a feature. Without that stuff, the whole concept of alignment becomes useless.


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To give positive feedback first, I am glad to see an emphasis not only on the codes of conduct, but also a tier of conduct which players may not recognize at first glance when playing a Paladin. That it happens to fall in line with my own perspective helps as well (That being good triumphs Law, if but for a moment, if Law would prevent saving the innocent or to accomplish good, but only in the right circumstances). Mechanically I'll be quite happy to test out the Paladin during the playtest, but will add my voice to what I don't think is necessary for the Paladin; Non-Lawful Good Paladins.

To be honest, I don't consider a Paladin a Paladin unless they are Lawful Good. You can still play with the idea of Lawful Good without diving into the LN or Non-Lawful Spectrum, as I feel this diminishes what makes a Paladin stand above other classes. A Paladin tasks the player not just in game but out of it to uphold a LG class and character without the ability to shirk that to play what amounts to a Warpriest or Anti-Paladin. I would also hesitate to expand too far with the available deities for Paladins, and believe that Paladins should, at their core, only follow LG deities. Granted by reading the post I can clearly see that a lot of thought and cautious exploration was placed on what constitutes a Paladin and what does not, and I applaud that. This is simply where I feel that this exploration should be praised and where it should be re-examined.


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Honestly, it is fine for classes to have weight beyond just being a bunch of powers together. It should be a conscious decision like what race you pick, which also shouldnt be a choice you make just for whatever bonus they grant. These things should have lore and matter from the get go.

When you pick a fighter or paladin or a barbarian... it shouldnt just be a call based on how they punch the enemies, but how they work far beyond combat in a role play level.

They said they want to core to be even more infused with Golarion and the anathemas being added to the classes as well as keeping them locked into roles they have to represent in the game thus is perfectly fine. Paladins keeping to LG and having their code, representing what they should in the Golarion is a big plus.

Ofc, they also should add more and more options to fill more and more roles, but this is also keeping in mind classes dont need to be generic tasteless choices that you pick only for mechanical reasons.

Liberty's Edge

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I still think it's a shame they didn't go warpriest and just make the LG version called the paladin.
Because Golarion does have non-LG martial champions of the gods, so now we return to the situation where we need the antipaladin and the warpriest and the paladin of freedom, etc...


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I really hope they don't tie many mechanics to deities. The idea of just being "Yet another warrior for a god... but Not!" is really dumb and weakens the concept of being a champion of your alignment.

I also honestly can't see a single good thing about tying mastery of armour to alignment.


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Nox Aeterna wrote:

Honestly, it is fine for classes to have weight beyond just being a bunch of powers together. It should be a conscious decision like what race you pick, which also shouldnt be a choice you make just for whatever bonus they grant. These things should have lore and matter from the get go.

When you pick a fighter or paladin or a barbarian... it shouldnt just be a call based on how they punch the enemies, but how they work far beyond combat in a role play level.

They said they want to core to be even more infused with Golarion and the anathemas being added to the classes as well as keeping them locked into roles they have to represent in the game thus is perfectly fine. Paladins keeping to LG and having their code, representing what they should in the Golarion is a big plus.

Ofc, they also should add more and more options to fill more and more roles, but this is also keeping in mind classes dont need to be generic tasteless choices that you pick only for mechanical reasons.

I primarily choose classes for their fluff and role in the world; mechanics come later. That's why I want my favorite class to continue in the game. If you change such a fundamental part of the Paladin right at start, I don't see that class being there :)

I already played a Paladin in D&D 4e. A lawful good paladin of Bahamut. Even so, the class was so little of paladin, that I just don't want to play that class there anymore. I like the edition, but this one 4e class I won't touch anymore...

Grand Lodge

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Code wrote:
You must never willingly commit an evil act, such as murder, torture, or casting an evil spell.

I'm really not a fan of "murder" being included in the code as a thing that instantly makes you fall. Not because I want paladins to run around murdering people, but because I've seen the whole gamut of varying definitions of what constitutes "murder" in the various Paladin threads over the years.

Just on this website I've seen "murder is any killing that breaks the local laws", "murder is killing for vengeance", "murder is killing good people", and my personal favorite, "murder is any and all killing".

This bit of the code really needs to be removed or reworded/redefined or a large part of the paladin code issues will still be present in PF2.


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It' called Anti-Paladin for a reason, it should not be "same thing, but Team Evil".
Protecting others is a core trope of LG Paladins. It isn't for insane demon-worshipping psycopaths.
Doesn't mean the latter can't do it, but doesn't mean they should be tied to it just because it's useful.
Now for a LE Tyrant, I definitely feel it's alot more appropriate. (this relevant to Asmodeus, not Anti-Paladins)

For CE Anti-Paladin, I see something more like each Crit they suffer causes more powers to emerge. They are motivated to play as agressively and recklessly as possible because they will be further fueled by what they unleash. Hit them with a Condition? They spew it back in abyssal vomit. Kill their allies? Their screaming souls just powered up the Anti-Paladin. Also implies interesting dynamic for Anti-Paladin vs Anti-Paladin internescine ultraviolence, Abyss-style.


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I love the 1e paladin, and so am really nervous about these mechanics. Also, the healing aspects.

When I play a paladin, I want to play a HERO who is DEDICATED to GOOD. That doesn't mean being tied to a deity, but it does mean having a moral code, and sense of honor that doesn't change because of convenience.

Yet as a HERO, I do not want be stuck as the party band-aid. Hero's Defiance and Paladin's Sacrifice let me take care of healing in a heroic fashion, without having to run over, apply LoH, run back...then rinse, repeat. It wasn't FUN, and Paladin's Sacrifice--the paladin's goodly energy reaching out and SNATCHING that harm before it struck! was heroic as anything. It FEELS right.

But level 19? That...wait, what? Standard action heals? Wait.

The swift LoHs played into that playstyle as well, with your strength of GOOD keeping you going despite hits. I hope we'll see some tankiness aside from Armor Prof that matches it.

There is a lot of the 1e playstyle to love, that let you stand up against Pit Fiends and survive due to Good's innate strength and your dedication to it.

Re: CG paladins. ...please don't make these "Liberators." Tying them to that concept pidgeonholes them. They too easily become ONLY about slavery, or the US's version of Personal Freedom. It gets nervous when the US version of Personal Freedom gets tied to gods and godlike abilities. It's also hard to argue against being against slavery (as it should be), and it ignores its existence as an institution. I've seen these two concepts easily dominate entire games. One person tried quoting the Constitution.

...

The CG Liberator overall is more personal liberty and anti-Tyranny in general, with a smite LAW feature. It makes me think they'd function well as CN, because they'd be flexible enough (as champions of Freedom) to "just do what needs done, however it needs done, to ensure freedom."

Freedom is freedom from restrictions, freedom from Tyranny. Code isn't their thing. Removing barriers IS, removing obstacles to personal freedom IS, and freedom isn't always good. It can be, but isn't always. Give them flexibility to get down and dirty to do their jobs.

...and either way, if there's an anti-slavery archetype, I'd rather see an Inquisitor as a Liberator, because the divine abilities, skillsets, flexible Bane and so on, make such strong sense for it. Tyrant demon? Check. Slavemaster? Check. Go against institutions or individuals? Check. Inquisitor naturally adds nuance to the Liberator concept that paladin doesn't, when shoved into that framework.


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Honestly, right now, I'll just wait for a splatbook to bring back the Inquisitor.
The whole band, back together!

Also, I think I should remember that each class (mechanically) needs not only mechanics, but unique mechanics, its own niche and special abilities that will make it a real choice compared to other classes.
Why Wizards don't heal? Why Fighters don't cast fireballs? Why Clerics have Turn Undead or similar abilities? Being unique.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Darkorin wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
Darkorin wrote:
But even in that case, it means that the other paladins won't be playtested. Which makes me wonder how viable they will be...
That is an excellent and very worrying point.
I’m guessing more viable than if they tried to playtest, say, four at once.o
You mean that the LG Paladin will be more viable than all of the other Paladin. It's cool if it's the only thing you care about, it's not in the other cases.

My intention was to convey that I feel including, say, four corner alignments in playtest would result in a worse Paladin class overall as the arguments over the four types would impede any of them getting properly balanced. It might even throw the overall playtest off some.

I mostly care about Antipaladin, but I expect better viability by getting LG balanced with playtesting, and designers handling it from there, or maybe making it part of an APG playtest. I can understand people not sharing my view on this, though!


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Icy Turbo wrote:

To give positive feedback first, I am glad to see an emphasis not only on the codes of conduct, but also a tier of conduct which players may not recognize at first glance when playing a Paladin. That it happens to fall in line with my own perspective helps as well (That being good triumphs Law, if but for a moment, if Law would prevent saving the innocent or to accomplish good, but only in the right circumstances). Mechanically I'll be quite happy to test out the Paladin during the playtest, but will add my voice to what I don't think is necessary for the Paladin; Non-Lawful Good Paladins.

To be honest, I don't consider a Paladin a Paladin unless they are Lawful Good. You can still play with the idea of Lawful Good without diving into the LN or Non-Lawful Spectrum, as I feel this diminishes what makes a Paladin stand above other classes. A Paladin tasks the player not just in game but out of it to uphold a LG class and character without the ability to shirk that to play what amounts to a Warpriest or Anti-Paladin. I would also hesitate to expand too far with the available deities for Paladins, and believe that Paladins should, at their core, only follow LG deities. Granted by reading the post I can clearly see that a lot of thought and cautious exploration was placed on what constitutes a Paladin and what does not, and I applaud that. This is simply where I feel that this exploration should be praised and where it should be re-examined.

Quoted for truth.


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BTW, nobody is mentioning the "Attack of Opportunity at 6th level".
Not that I'm surprised, but I believe people previously argued over AoOs being entirely Fighter-exclusive. Could very well be all Martial classes get it like this.


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"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."

I know this clause only exists to satisfy rules lawyers more or less, but the first half (everything before the "or") confuses me. What's the RAI here?

Liberty's Edge

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At first I was like "Grrrrrr, I really want the good spectrum of the alignment opened up because I really want to play a Chaotic Good 'Freedom' Pally" but if the new Pathfinder has Starfinder-esque elements (If I'm allowed to coin that term.) Then, I can take a theme like Priest, or plug an archetype like Divine champion into a rogue or a fighter, so I'm still going to hit the character concept I want anyway. also it looks like there is some hinting at the alignment spectrum getting opened up later. so I'll take a pass on pallys now with an eye on the awesome things I'm hoping to come for them in the future.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
Meh, pass. Oh well, no Paladins at my table again :)

why would you ban a player from playing one?


never liked calling cg paladins liberators either...
freedom fighters... to the extreme..

ick, ick ick
but if we do get good only paladins, I would be able to make a CG kobold paladin of Calistria right?


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jimthegray wrote:
why would you ban a player from playing one?

I know I'll probably ban it from play in my game because it so far doesn't sound like it'd make any sense in my 1e RPG-line based campaign setting.


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Why not just use the deity's edicts, anathema, and alignment? Seems like that would invite more creativity in Champions/Defenders of the Faith.

Why add an extra system on top of the interesting deity material? It's extra complication without adding anything.

Otherwise mechanics seem fun, but I don't want to play a LG Pally, so I guess I'll wait for the rest of the material :/ It's a missed opportunity.


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"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."

This needs some rewording. Under this a Paladin is pretty much incapable of taking any military command. If a Paladin can save 2/3rds of Brindol's citizens or 1/3rd of them she falls no matter what she picks. There's not even a strict or malicious reading needed to cause that. The prohibition on "taking advantage of others" is pretty open too: A Paladin obviously shouldn't fall for realizing the novice Orc commander left his flank vulnerable and ordering her troops to take advantage of his mistake. That obviously shouldn't be the case, yet it's an issue that wasn't even present in the original code.


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JustActCasual wrote:

Why not just use the deity's edicts, anathema, and alignment? Seems like that would invite more creativity in Champions/Defenders of the Faith.

Why add an extra system on top of the interesting deity material? It's extra complication without adding anything.

Otherwise mechanics seem fun, but I don't want to play a LG Pally, so I guess I'll wait for the rest of the material :/ It's a missed opportunity.

I like the code being there, because I didn't want PF2 Paladins to be "Clerics, but with less spells and more hitting."


jimthegray wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Meh, pass. Oh well, no Paladins at my table again :)
why would you ban a player from playing one?

Really can't fathom it, personally. I mean, if one is also banning Clerics or Fighters whose personality involves following Code and Anathema. I don't think banning Militant Vegans would be Forum-approved, so I don't see the difference ;-)


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deuxhero wrote:

"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."

This needs some rewording. Under this a Paladin is pretty much incapable of taking any military command. If a Paladin can save 2/3rds of Brindol's citizens or 1/3rd of them she falls no matter what she picks. There's not even a strict or malicious reading needed to cause that. The prohibition on "taking advantage of others" is pretty open too: A Paladin obviously shouldn't fall for realizing the novice Orc commander left his flank vulnerable and ordering her troops to take advantage of his mistake. That obviously shouldn't be the case, yet it's an issue that wasn't even present in the original code.

Quote:


(...) when you knew your action could reasonably prevent it.

Problem solved :)


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I am so glad that Paladins are remaining Lawful-Good exclusively. Anything else would have been a pointless, watered down martial version of the Cleric.
Warpriest, anyone?
They seem to be keeping enough of their uniqueness to stand out on their own.

Even so, I am very excited to see the other versions that are hinted. (Tyrant, AntiPaladins) as well as giving other alignments (CG most especially) the chance to have their own holy warriors, especially with the very clever tiered Vow system.

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