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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Quandary wrote:

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.

To be fair, from what I remember they did say that another class could get it through class feat, but later than Fighter did.


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Wowie wrote:

"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?

So, for example, a lone low level paladin isn't obliged to attempt to fight a troll,say, despite the likelihood of failing and dying, because it might threaten innocents. If it was definitely a threat, then poison, or ambushes or any other means of evening the odds would be allowed, since protecting would be the priority

You don't have to take suicidal actions.


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How to avoid 90% of paladin alignment problems.

Lawful good (and thus paladins) are A form of good.

They are not good with no other concerns. On occasion their rigidness will cause them to do less good right now than they might otherwise have accomplished, out of the belief (justified or not) that the bigger picture is worth more than immediate benefit.

They are not the goodest good, they are not the best good. They are not double plus all the other goods wish they could be this good good. Other alignments can be just as good as a paladin.

Most importantly, it is entirely possible to be a good person and disagree with a paladin. Paladins can legitimately be wrong. Paladins can even disagree with each other. Just because someone writes a paladin or paladins as having a problem with something does not mean that said something is wrong.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

One thing I'm kinda worried about now is that Smite Evil is gonna end up like Starfinder's Divine Champion's Smite-equivalent: bypassing damage reduction without any accuracy or flat damage boosts. That's a big part of the feel of PF1 for me, those limited-use abilities that really turn your combat abilities up to 11 for a while. Cavalier's challenge, Paladin's Smite, Kineticist's "nova" combos. I hope this flatter math doesn't mean the removal of these kinds of abilities.


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.

I'm pretty sure "take advantage of others" falls under a lower tier than "protect the innocent", therefore you're fine. Since by not doing that you'd (presumably) be allowing innocents to come to harm, then the more important one takes precedence.


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Quandary wrote:
TimD wrote:
I'm also hoping the "casting an evil spell" is removed as I can see the "will you use the wand of infernal healing on the dying infant?" conundrum for the next round of "paladin falls" drinking games.

Only if the infant pays you for your Resonance to use the wand.

No free lunches in life, sorry kid. /s

I doubt infernal healing makes its way into pf2.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Arachnofiend wrote:
Catharsis wrote:
I wouldn't mind eventually getting Liberators, Tyrants, and Disruptors, but the Paladin is the ur-archetype: It's the dream of being rewarded by the universe for Doing Things Right, even though it's the hardest way to go.

Lawful Good is the alignment of accepting evil because there are worse evils out there. There are Hellknight Paladins because it's possible to be Lawful Good and just turn the other cheek at slavery and other forms of repression.

Lawful Good is not the most good.

true that would be NG


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As a paladin of Torm, I welcome all my brethren that enjoy the fight against evil and disorder.

Also....did I miss smite evil?!


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Xerres wrote:
But seriously, why is the Armor class alignment locked!?!

It isn't. You're referring to Legendary proficiency? The fact that exists as generic mechanic is strong hint not just Paladins can get it. Think of it as granting a specific bonus Feat, that doesn't mean others can't get that somehow. This feature also doesn't seem tied to Alignment for Paladins, i.e. lost when Falling. The idea that non-Supernatural abilities might be tied into class which aren't lost when Falling seems pretty popular.


Wowie wrote:

"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?

My interpretation here is that the "possible" is important. So, like, you don't have to act against everything that might hurt an innocent. You don't have to blockade every bridge you come to because it 'might' collapse with people on it, and you could have prevented that, or lead an active war against candles because they 'might' tip over and light someone's house on fire, stuff like that.


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Demon Lord of Paladins! wrote:
To be honest once it said LG only I stopped reading.

I kept going through the paragraph upon paragraph of justifications, then the long, long rationalizations of the code and anathemas (over half the article).

There is way too much baggage dumped on this class just to be super-best at armor-wearing (because LG), a handful of pseudo-clerical abilities (because LG), a few MMO tanking mechanics and some vaguely described abilities (near constant retribution against fiends! psst- what does that mean?)

This class needs a clear design (one that isn't 'only holy champions of good and law can be bestest at wearing armor'). At the moment, the clear aspect is the designers didn't agree and gave it a grab bag of random stuff instead, coupled with a lot of traditionalist dogma out of fear of the reaction if they didn't.

Sorry for the negativity, but it doesn't look like any of the current problems of the paladin are solved, and the X feats, Y feats, Z feats, litanies, oaths, whichevers, whatevers, this class limits these proficiencies but maxes those is just... ugly and confusing. If this is anything to go by, classes are no such thing- they just limit which grab bags you can pull random stuff from, in a weird classless-but-not compromise.


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Xerres wrote:
Igwilly wrote:
Xerres wrote:


The Paladin is all about exclusion and superiority.

Not really. It's about "You know this guy? The guy which you loved from day 1? He's still there, his class is still there. Come and play it!"

That's my opinion, at least :)

Yes, you got to keep the exclusive, morally superior class, locked to those Chaotic peasants.

I'd take that joke further, but it would start to seem more of a insult than a fallacious comment. Because I refuse to imply anything about people's personal character, I'm talking entirely about the class.

But yes, you are indeed getting the class the way you wanted it. That way excludes many people from playing it, because they don't want to be locked into the notion that Lawful Good is best good, or that somehow Chaotic Good is lax in their opposition to Evil, or many number of other stances I can't completely cover.

But by virtue of its "Neutral and Chaotic Good aren't Good enough!" existence, it is a class of exclusion and superiority by definition.

Not really. Each 3 types of good are equally good. However, Lawful Good rests in special place of the alignment chart.

Alignment is a lot more than a worthless mechanic. I invite anyone here to think about a little bit. Especially, on why people would have the alignments they have.
It's so much of a food for thought. Really, this is a Brilliant system. It's a shame many people cannot use it right :)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

one thing I do like...by cutting spellcasting from the Paladin, that actually opens up room a bit better for the warpriest. I always felt that the gap between paladin and cleric is was a bit too narrow thematically for a class to fit in.

Also, I think we will get other "paladins" in a future splat, but there is a potential they will be built from the ground up as new classes, not tweaked paladins. Which hopefully will make them better classes overall.


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So the only issue I really have with this is that the tagline for Paladins shouldn't be "Paladins are divine champions of a deity." It should read "Paladins are divine champions of some deities (not all deity's worshipers need apply)."


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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. 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.

And before D&D Paladin referred to Late Roman and early medieval Frankish palace guards and officials (the schola palatinae who replaced the Praetorians, and the palatine who was a high ranking government official) as well as Charlemagne's 12 mythical companions (who were specifically The Paladins, written as we do today) that didn't really have much to do with being Holy warriors.

Conceptually Templar, or some other reference to the knightly crusader orders would be closer to what a paladin actually is, but Gygax decided on Paladin and changed its meaning.
Doing this small alteration changes it whole lot less than what Gygax did, so I don't really see it as an issue


Thomas Seitz wrote:
Also....did I miss smite evil?!

It's probably a matter of them posting the new things. However, I didn't see it either.


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Shinigami02 wrote:
You don't have to blockade every bridge you come to because it 'might' collapse with people on it, and you could have prevented that, or lead an active war against candles because they 'might' tip over and light someone's house on fire, stuff like that.

As long as candle-makers are still legit Smite targets. Ones who use annoying scents are the priority target though. Hey man, that stuff should be considered a POISON.


Gregg Reece wrote:
Thomas Seitz wrote:
Also....did I miss smite evil?!
It's probably a matter of them posting the new things. However, I didn't see it either.

It is in there:

Quote:
"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!"

Emphasis mine.


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While I am glad this avatar still has some miles left in it, I am not sure I feel they delivered on the notion of making playing paladins easier. The code is still pretty much the same, but now you can use poisons, which ime never happened anyway. So overall my experience will not change there, or in any such way. I'm glad I'm not the first to point out how much of this blog post is dedicated specifically to the code of conduct and that we really don't have a good picture of how the class plays or works, we just get some ability name drops because most of the blog is about dealing with code of conduct stuff.

I'm not even against the paladin being really good at armor, but if it's the class that's all about it, then I really REALLY feel like it needs to be changed to be open to more alignments.

I don;t want to babble on about the alignment thing, but when the blog spends so much time on it you kinda figure that's what they want us to talk about, unless the class is really dry and the alignment stuff is all it really has (I hope not).

"Tanking" was never really possible in PF1 without some really niche feats or spells to draw enemies to attack you, Antagonize and Call Out come to mind. As a DM, if I see someone pumping up their AC, that person gets avoided in favor of enemies I can actually hit to reduce the numbers of my foes, so unless there's a mechanical incentive to actually go after the paladin instead of the allies, then I feel like this class will not be played the way it seems to be intended. I also hate AGGRO being a mechanic.

We have no idea if this class gets actual spellcasting, so we either suspect that it doesn't because you didn't tell us (in which case we get slammed because "we just don't know yet") or we try and speculate on what the class does get, in which case we get slammed for the same reason.

As far as these blogs go, I am not excited to discuss this class, because all we seem to be looking to get is alignment arguments from it, however given the alias I feel I am morally obligated to participate in this week of upcoming insanity.

Do we even know how smite evil works? We know how domains work, how channeling works, how weapon proficiency works, and how sneak attack works.

This blog lacks, big time. I am disappoint.


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Igwilly wrote:

Not really. Each 3 types of good are equally good. However, Lawful Good rests in special place of the alignment chart.

Alignment is a lot more than a worthless mechanic. I invite anyone here to think about a little bit. Especially, on why people would have the alignments they have.
It's so much of a food for thought. Really, this is a Brilliant system. It's a shame many people cannot use it right :)

With all due respect, I'd but forth the supposition that you don't understand it as well as you think, if you believe Lawful Good is special.

Again, its my favorite alignment. My favorite character is a Paladin, who when I first started playing the game spared a Blackguard and redeemed her because he refused to strike down anyone he believed could be saved. He refused to kill a Half-Fiend that had tormented him for weeks, because he believed so strongly that all life is worth respect. And if he can spare a life, he will, no matter the cost to himself. Playing him as a Cleric Variant-Multiclassed Paladin in a Wrath of the Righteous game, serving my girl Sarenrae. Sweet jibblets, I clicked my heels and danced around the room when someone described Sarenrae to me for the first time. That was like telling my Paladin "Son, you're coming home!"

My favorite current character is a Samruai who follows the Paladin Code of Shizuru, the Code of Ichimeiyo, and the Code of his own family. While serving a Lord, and dealing with a party of people that do not respect his culture and beliefs.

I love Paladins, and I love Lawful Good. And I hate the notion that either of them are 'Special'. Lawful Good is not about rewards, it is not about superiority, is it not about how your way is so much harder. Its about what is Right, because its Right, and nothing else.

Granted, I think Pro-Lawful Only supporters believe in that concept, generally, and are of the mind "Paladins are Lawful because that's what's Right.", to use my terminology there.

But, do not suggest I don't know the alignments or understand them. If there is any claim made that I don't understand Lawful Good, buddy, you're in for a hurricane of paragraphs with drawn out diatribes of why I do.

So, just to be be clear: I understand alignment, I understand Paladins, and I understand Lawful Good. I just disagree with anyone that says they are special, or should be rewarded. Or that they should get more than Neutral of Chaotic Good.

I love Lawful Good, so I want things to be fair and equal across the board. They aren't, so like Paladin loving fool I am, I want it changed.


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Didn't even bother reading the rest of the post once you confirmed this class and playstyle is LG-only. There was some 'if' language in there about possibly revisiting this at a later time, but given the efforts so far in PF1E (such as the breathtakingly un-fun 'Grey Paladin')... I do not hold high hopes.

This has seriously damaged my interest in your product and I am considering revoking my preorder for the playtest or at least downgrading it to one of the less fancy editions. I'll think about it some this evening.

Feel free to try to talk me out of it.

Edit: I see preorders locked. So it's 'cancel and get nothing or stay on your current preorder.' And since said orders are now locked into 'pending', I may take the matter up with my card issuer to seek a refund.

I am strongly leaning toward 'cancel and get nothing.' I am very disappointed in this decision; why would you lock a major play-style like this to only 1 of the alignments? It's not like it's an obscure blend.


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Oh I like this. I have always enjoyed the discussions around Paladins and what they can and can't do, but also the option to now think through your No-no's and answer the highest one makes it easier to play without stepping on toes. Ie:

I played a paladin when another player had a rogue. He ran around town, convinced people a Dragon attack was imminent and stole jewellery from the abandoned houses. Seeing I found out I told the authorities we bumped into, but that felt bad for me. I was pouring water on the player's good roleplaying and ideas, (and when he tried selling the jewels to the NPCS they all refused -- hadn't he heard? There was a Dragon coming so everybody was selling up and moving on!)

With this new set up I wouldn't feel like I HAD to dob him in. Rather, listening to the authority and doing what they asked was a much higher call then retrieving the jewels the Rogue got through outsmarting stupid npcs. If the authority did mention "watch out for looting" then in that case it's a direct tie between job and what I've witnessed, so that would a be a fun, tense moment when everyone looks to see if the Paladin speaks up (and knows that their God is watching too!)

Plus a Paladin for each extreme alignment sounds awesome. Chaotic Good are roamers who champion good in whatever way they find it, like Kevin Sorbo's Hercules, a wandering, handsome, muscular bum.

While a Lawful Evil paladin is clearly the head of a judicial system, so satan?


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RickDias wrote:
Feel free to try to talk me out of it.

Thanks to limited space, they won't put in new paladins at this point. It's a playtest, you cannot possibly test everything. They made their point well and were honest and open about it.


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One thing to point out - Some people are saying they don't like the LG Paladin because it makes Lawful Good the best good.

There is no best good.

Neutral Good is not the best good.
Lawful Good is not the best good.
Chaotic Good is not the best good.

No, they don't really need to explain it.

Lawful Good just means someone dedicated to the inherent order and law within the universe.

This isn't less or more good than any other good.

If anything it just how Paladins, as a base, work. The idea that laws, that order, and stability, are the best way for good to flourish is their thing.

Neutral Good means that they think that order and chaos both have their place, and that a balance between the two is the best way for good to flourish.

Chaotic Good means that they think that rules get in the way and that total freedom is the only way for good to ever truly flourish.

They are all just as good as each other, it is just how they think the best way to achieve the most good is different.

Paladins are just Paladins because for some reason those two energies (Elemental Law and Elemental Good) have a strange reaction. Its like saying baking soda and vinegar is the best items in the pantry because they have a unique reaction when combined.


Speaking of what's lost when Falling, what happens to the Mount? or Spirit infused weapon or armor etc?
EDIT: Seems like special Paladin mount abilities are being distinguished from base animal.
Not sure how that works, but seems plausible you can keep a normal Mount without Celestial etc abilities while you are Fallen.

Seems like it wouldn't disappear but be in more moral conflict with Paladin. Helping them lead them back to fray, if successful. Or potentially fighting with Paladin if he moves in opposite direction. Like intelligent items of opposed alignment would have own agenda.

This would be in line with more nuanced Fall that negotiates a path to return to the Light, or a path to continue in the Grey, or a path that turns to Dark Side etc. (or just the wild and crazy CG side) Not all of that needs be detailed before CE/LE/CG champions exist, but more substantiated 'Fallen' stage that isn't just 'lose these powers' would establish better starting ground for 'conversions' to those other Alignment Champion classes.


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Charlatan wrote:
Thanks to limited space, they won't put in new paladins at this point. It's a playtest, you cannot possibly test everything. They made their point well and were honest and open about it.

I can't respect this reasoning. A playtest is for major changes like this.


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Igwilly wrote:

Alignment is a lot more than a worthless mechanic. I invite anyone here to think about a little bit. Especially, on why people would have the alignments they have.

It's so much of a food for thought. Really, this is a Brilliant system. It's a shame many people cannot use it right :)

Funny, alignment breaks down when I think about it, and especially when I consider that most people and fictional characters don't fit neatly into one given alignment. I don't have problems with it at the table because I just shrug and don't think about or argue it.

And can we dispense with the idea that a Chaotic Good paragon has fewer rules to follow because he's Chaotic? He merely has a different set of principles. And if you want to argue that following rules makes you lawful, then Chaotic Good is actually an impossible alignment for anyone to hold, because Good necessarily involves following rules regarding restraint, charity, and so on.


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The Paladin remains Lawful Good, and I breathe a sigh of relief.


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This is disappointing. The new edition is supposed to be about evolution, but a LG Paladin isn't evolution. It's just standard fare. Even 1E has archetypes that allowed other alignments.

Maybe it's time to do away with the Paladin class, and rename it something like Paragon. Lose the archaic grasping to the ultimate do-gooder, and make the class a representation of a deity on earth.

I'm hoping that more alignments become available before the core release. I'm hoping that there is actual growth and evolution.


RickDias wrote:
Charlatan wrote:
Thanks to limited space, they won't put in new paladins at this point. It's a playtest, you cannot possibly test everything. They made their point well and were honest and open about it.
I can't respect this reasoning. A playtest is for major changes like this.

I strongly expect there will be future playtests, where other alignment champions may show up if they do at all.


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RickDias wrote:
Charlatan wrote:
Thanks to limited space, they won't put in new paladins at this point. It's a playtest, you cannot possibly test everything. They made their point well and were honest and open about it.
I can't respect this reasoning. A playtest is for major changes like this.

What classes are you willing to sacrifice to make this happen?


Igwilly wrote:
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 :)

Adding "without causing greater harm to others" would make that a patch to the first problem, but the problem is that you could reasonably prevent it, just at the cost of having it happen to others. Even then that still doesn't fix "taking advantage of others." being so broad that it applies to exploiting the flaws and weakness of evil (You'd fall for hitting a white dragon with fire.).


Cyouni wrote:
What classes are you willing to sacrifice to make this happen?

None. Here's a better idea: "Alignment: Any" and revise the code/tenet paragraphs some to account for this. Impact on page-count should be fairly small.

Dark Archive

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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.

That tenet also states "when you knew your action could reasonably prevent it", which exempts them from responsibility in most cases you brought up. When following military orders, then, they could not willingly harm an innocent and would be required to act to prevent harm to innocents so long as doing so was both reasonably within their power and not guaranteed to get them killed (ie "Terrasque attacks a village while you are Level 5, commander says to save the cituzens, you are required to save who you can but are not required to make a heroic sacrifice or final stand to do so"). This also means that, in a hypothetical scenario where they can save 1/3 or 2/3 of a population but not both, they will not be punished for choosing either side if they were not reasonably capable of saving both. It's actually pretty cleverly worded.


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HWalsh wrote:
One thing to point out - Some people are saying they don't like the LG Paladin because it makes Lawful Good the best good.

Pretty much me. And I know your logic, I understand your logic, I disagree with your conclusions.

Chaotic Good = Normal Classes.
Neutral Good = Normal Classes.
Lawful Good = Normal Classes+Paladin.

Normal Classes+Paladin =/= Normal Classes.

Lawful Good gets more than the others, and more important, they get the class that is specifically about fighting Evil. Lawful Good is superior to Neutral and Chaotic Good by virtue of doing what they do, and more.

That is not an acceptable idea to me.

Common reaction is to say that Chaotic and Neutral make up for it by not being bound to Codes, but that doesn't equate. They aren't bound to Codes, but they do have more trouble organizing themselves. An advantage met with a disadvantage.

Paladin is an advantage to Lawful Good, met with no disadvantage. It just makes Lawful Good better.


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I'm a loud partisan for Paladin-analogues (i.e. with changes on a level with those between Paladin & Antipaladin) of Chaotic Good, but I understand that some character types necessarily won't make it into the Core Rulebook. Since the door's open to other champions for now, I'm fine with pushing Antipaladin, Tyrant, and Liberator back to a later iteration of the playtest, or even to the next Advanced Player's Guide.

Frankly I think the new Paladin's Code (with its priority system that will hopefully eliminate Catch-22 situations) combined with their god's Anathema is enough on its own to "keep them in line", with no need for alignment. Though for what it's worth, I'm not a fan of godless divine casters in general.


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RickDias wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
What classes are you willing to sacrifice to make this happen?
None. Here's a better idea: "Alignment: Any" and revise the code/tenet paragraphs some to account for this. Impact on page-count should be fairly small.

You may not like it mate and as this thread shows plenty of others dont too, but there are also lots of us who love the fact paladins remain what they are in PF1 with their LG alignment and code.

There is no one answer here. You cant have the paladin be both things. Either the class would be one or the other and thus, there is no answer that will make everyone happy.


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As a Goblin-born I know NO ONE is truly 'Innocent'. THEREFORE, I CAN BURN/CHOP/HURT ANYONE I WANT! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

The Eternal Rose: Please don't make me cry little one, I would be very sad because you became like all the other lawful Best Good murderhobos who used that excuse. Please do this for Me?

Awwww. Please don't cry! Just... I'll do whatever you want, just don't cry, okay?

Player EDIT: That being said though, can we PLEASE get an 'Armor Expert' class that is not ALIGNMENT GATED? PLEASE?


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Ser Guii de Facien wrote:


As a Goblin-born I know NO ONE is truly 'Innocent'. THEREFORE, I CAN BURN/CHOP/HURT ANYONE I WANT! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

The Eternal Rose: Please don't make me cry little one, I would be very sad because you became like all the other lawful Best Good murderhobos who used that excuse. Please do this for Me?

Awwww. Please don't cry! Just... I'll do whatever you want, just don't cry, okay?

False paladin, everyone knows goblin paladins worship sarenrae because fire.


LuniasM wrote:
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.

That tenet also states "when you knew your action could reasonably prevent it", which exempts them from responsibility in most cases you brought up. When following military orders, then, they could not willingly harm an innocent and would be required to act to prevent harm to innocents so long as doing so was both reasonably within their power and not guaranteed to get them killed (ie "Terrasque attacks a village while you are Level 5, commander says to save the cituzens, you are required to save who you can but are not required to make a heroic sacrifice or final stand to do so"). This also means that, in a hypothetical scenario where they can save 1/3 or 2/3 of a population but not both, they will not be punished for choosing either side if they were not reasonably capable of saving both. It's actually pretty cleverly worded.

As mentioned before "when you knew your action could reasonably prevent it" fails when you have a choice of two action and they'd cause separate harm. Adding "without causing greater harm to others" would fix that part.


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RickDias wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
What classes are you willing to sacrifice to make this happen?
None. Here's a better idea: "Alignment: Any" and revise the code/tenet paragraphs some to account for this. Impact on page-count should be fairly small.

Okay, but have you looked at this from the other side of the coin?

There are a lot of players (as evidenced in this thread) who wanted Paladins to be LG only and wouldn't want to play a LG Paladin in a game that allowed non-LG Paladins as a base idea (as opposed to specific Archetypes) in the end?

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

By keeping Paladins LG Only they aren't really going to send away Pathfinder players. If they were playing Pathfinder 1e then LG Paladins were the standard. So its not like they are going to make PF1 Players angry when they find out they can't play their CG Paladin because they never *could* play their CG Paladin outside of a specific archetype or via house rule.

Any GMs who want non-LG Paladins just have to drop the restriction. It is easier to drop one then put one in in the end.

At the most, they might turn off some 5e players who want to play a 5e Paladin they made in a PF game, but that is probably a very small audience.

So just risk vs reward ya know?


Hmm, I don't see any real mention of spells. Are paladins no longer casters proper? Do they rely only on Powers and Lay on Hands?

Hmm, wait it seems to mention Litanies as spells. Still I find it odd no mention of caster quality is mentioned. Do they still delay spells till 4th level and are they still 4th level casters?


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Ryan Freire wrote:


False paladin, everyone knows goblin paladins worship sarenrae because fire.

The Eternal Rose loves our SINGING! WHO'S THE LIAR NOW LONGSHANKS??

The Eternal Rose Gui, it's okay to let them be like that. They don't understand I Love Your Music!

...okay... Please don't cry!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
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.

Here's the thing: making the choice for the bonuses can be and often is *part of the roleplay level*. It's finding the mechanics that fit the concept you want to play. Or would you suggest that it's not roleplaying to create a law-abiding Rogue who works as a detective, a Barbarian as a street thug from the heart of Oppara or Absalom, a ranger as a military scout or caravaneer whose survival skills are entirely practical without any pseudo-druidic reverence for nature--or for that matter, a crime boss who doesn't have a single level in Rogue, an ordained priest without levels in cleric, or a samurai whose levels are in Fighter, Paladin, Magus, or whatever else?


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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

I really like this. I think it will vastly reduce the paladin code conflicts that happen accidentally, and should help reduce the "force a paladin to fall" DM setups.

One editorial nitpick regarding this sentence from the blog:
"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."

I re-read that sentence about half a dozen times before I figured out what it was saying. Partly it was the passive voice - I didn't realize at first that "An attempt to subvert the paladin code" was an attempt by the Paladin, I was thinking it was someone else making an attempt at causing a paladin to fall. And partly the example was confusing. Maybe Label the tenets being referenced, or use a clearer example. My attempt: "It would violate the code for a paladin to intentionally lure an innocent to a place of danger, so that the innocent would be harmed (2nd tenet) if the paladin doesn't cheat/lie (3rd tenet) to protect them."

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I really like the concepts of paths and codes for the paladin. I’d be interested in an any-Lawful version of the class. I just don’t see a paladin as chaotic, though.


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After having read the Paladin blog and all the comments about it, I am having incredibly mixed feelings so far, which I guess is similar to how a lot of people in this thread is feeling.

I’m not going to get into the Paladin’s Code itself. There has already been so much written about what people love or hate about the Paladin’s Code, and I don’t think anything new I could contribute about it.

On the other hand, I don’t like how Paizo said that they wanted to focus on Paladins as being champions of an alignment, and then saying in the same blog post that paladins will have to follow a deity’s anathema. I know Paladins are divine spellcasters just like Clerics, but in my mind the two classes are nothing alike, and they shouldn’t be. In my opinion, Paladins should either drop the deity requirement, or they should be completely reworked and called Warpriests.

Paladins represent a very specific concept: a holy knight glowing with the power of their righteousness and willing to fight against evil like they're a Knight of the Round Table. This has always been reflected in their proficiency with heavy armor, their Smite ability, their ability to gain a special mount, and their Auras. Clerics represent champions of a god that are all different from each other: nobody will say that Clerics of city-god Abadar, hunting-god Erastil, and love-goddess Shelyn will have the exact same abilities. This has been reflected in their Domains, and more recently their Channel Energy powers, signature skills, and bonus spells. Paladins don’t seem to be getting any of that in core, and they never have. I don't want yet another big restriction on how I play my Paladin if there isn't anything the character is getting out of it, gameplay-wise or flavor-wise.

I also don’t like the fact that evil damage is officially mentioned. I have always hated alignment damage, and other uses of alignment as a gameplay mechanic like Protection from Evil. I was hoping that Pathfinder Second Edition would cut those elements out of the game entirely, but when this blog came out I was sorely disappointed to see evil damage explicitely mentioned in text.

I’m OK with having alignments as a roleplaying guide. But when alignment is written into the fabric of the game’s code (like a Paladin’s Smite Evil or, conversely, a Hellknight’s Smite Chaos) it raises questions of what DR/law or DR/good even represents, and what it means to be Good, Evil, Lawful or Chaotic. And as this thread has shown, everybody has a completely different answer for what those alignments mean.

As they are, alignments can be easily ignored, and they have been a central concept to D&D and Pathfinder so I don’t think they are ever going away. But I would prefer that those elements be straightened out.

For what it's worth, the other 90% of the Paladin is great!

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