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Life was so much simpler when champions were paladins and people complained about how stupidly players roleplayed them and how limiting the alignment system was. Good times.

As for how a neutral champion could look like. Simple. They are dispassionate towards the struggle of good and evil. They suffer not from compassion to the weak, but have no interest in the self serving or destructive tendencies of evil.

Either they subscribe to a rather ethereal view of the world, following a plan none but their patron gods and themselves can understand or they are deeply pragmatic people doing what must be done to further their cause. As likely to heal as they are to harm.

Their world is not black and white. Rather orange and blue.

Appreciate the responses. At the end of the day it seems to boil down to DM fiat and I shouldn't overthink the issue. Seems fair. Thanks guys.

Hi everyone,
so I recently picked up second edition and rolled a face/utility bard for our three man game (1 DM / 2 Players). I opted for a background as an emissary to grab as many starting languages as possible to be able to actually communicate with NPCs rather than having to fight myself through each and every encounter. Given that we are only two players, combat is a far more dangerous endeavor than in your average band of 4 person murder-hobo gang.

This got me thinking about how to most effectively approach the issue of language barrier. Is it really worth it to invest limited resources in learning languages in second edition?
How many languages are enough to cover your need for conversation. There are a lot of creatures, that may speak a language, but never will sit down and have a tea, opting to try and eat your face instead. And those that will talk to you most likely can speak "Common".

As of writing this post, there a a grand total of 49 published languages (1 secret, 15 common, 33 uncommon).

So, what can you do? There are a few ways to gain additional languages. Magic (and magic items) and feats (ancestry, heritage and skill) and a high intelligence modifier.

Comprehend Language (2nd Level), Telepathy (4th Level) and Tongues (5th Level) and all items, that all items that give you that spell.

All these let you speak any number of languages for up to one hour per cast (10 minutes for telepathy). Only comprehend languages (heightened to 3rd) will let you read as well.

Available to all casters except those using the Primal tradition. Versatile as long as the spell is active. Not so much, when you need to be able to converse / read / study over a longer period of time.

With a theoretical endless supply of gold, this becomes a non-issue, but not every character has an endless supply of gold.

Ancestry / Class / Feats:
When not relying on magic to do translations for you, you need to actually learn a language. How do we do that? Feats. Lots and lots of feats.

Ancestry plays a big role in the number of languages you can obtain in total throughout your characters life. All ancestries (except Gnomes, who get one more) start out with two languages learned. With a positive intelligence modifier up to 6 (at max level) more may be learned (poor lizard folk).

However only Halflings and Gnomes (and those adopted by Gnomes) can get more. Using either the "Nomadic Halfling" or the "Gnome Polyglot" feat you can gain 2/3 additional languages plus you improve the "Multilingual" feat

You can then take the "Multilingual" feat ad nauseam to learn as many languages as possible. For this Rogues are best suited, as they get twice as many skill feats than everybody else.

You can obtain an additional two languages by raising "Society" to legendary.

You can also opt to simply take the "Legendary Linguist" feat and speak a pig-din of all languages and communicate with anybody. Downside here is, same as with most spells, that you can only speak, but cannot read anything, which can sometimes help you.

Factoring all that in, I could create a character that can speak and read up to 92 languages at max level (Gnome Rogue, Polyglot, Max Int, Using only Multilingual in all Skill and General Feats, Legendary in Society).

I may have missed a few options in the book, but it's a start. Now I am not quite satisfied with any of the options available at this time. New rule books may give more efficient options, but these are the ones we have.

Now, after this long intro, my actual question. How much of your resources do you invest into learning languages for your character. Is it even necessary? Can spells sufficiently cover it. Should you focus on building up a translation bot. Should you use resources in your group to get everybody to learn a few languages, so as a whole you cover most? Or do you stick with a basic language and murder loot your way to victory aka diplomacy is for chumps. Interested to hear (read) your thoughts.

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Again my two cents:
Having abilities tied to specific alignment may make sense if we take the entire alignment spectrum into consideration.

For a cleric it makes thematic sense, that they gain powers from their deity and thus their respective corner on the alignment axis. But that is more a thematic choice, than a mechanical choice. There are lots and lots of divine patrons, that have overlapping domains. Sure there will be cases, where you can't have your cake and eat it, but you are not truly limited. Push come to shove agree with your DM to have a deity of your choice of flavor and your set for life.

For the paladin, who is dedicated to the idea of good (law and chaos are just semantics here really), it makes a rather poor argument to say, that there lawful paladins only care about defending peeps and the chaotic ones only care about respecting your personal space and freeing slaves. Why can't the paladin decide on their own, how to further the cause of good on their own? Regardless of their outlook in life. After all, they all are on the side of good.

Why dictate what a character feels passionately about with mechanical choices? It takes away players agency, limits role playing options and just shoehorns us into playing something that we may not have wanted.

I'd like to see the alignment restrictions on mechanical talents be removed entirely, and replace it with a modular system for the paladins code.

The paladin class should start with a very basic code (do good, fight evil) and gradually expand it as they level up with what I like to call oath talents. These add new passages to the code, while granting more powerful abilities. You don't necessarily have to take them, to keep your "moral" options flexible, but in turn you give up the chance on some neat goodies.

This way you can express what drives your paladin to do what they do, give them mechanical benefits and still adhere to the basic tenents of your alignment.

And also remove the link to deities. Paladins fight for the universal concept of good. Don't need a god for that. We have clerics for all our theological needs.

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Before I get back to the actual topic, some thoughts on Gorum. He is the god of fighting, for the sake of fighting. Sure, they can fight to save innocents, but they do it because they want to smash somebody's face in. Not because of the kindness of their heart. In the same vein, the anathema to harm non-combatants doesn't stem from Gorum being a big softy, but because killing them doesn't pose a challenge aka its boring.

Back to the original posts. While there are canonical examples of non lawful characters strictly adhering to a code, I agree with your view, that the whole paladin package lends itself far easier to it than other alignment configurations.

I like the way that we have different flavors of paladin now, but it doesn't go far enough. Also I disagree with the designers, that lawful paladins can not also violently oppose slavery now as the chaotic good ones. it should be up to the players to decide what their character aims to achieve.

What I would have preferred to see in the class would have been that the code of conduct could be made more modular and divested from alignment.

I was thinking that paladins get a whole talent line focusing on them taking their oaths as paladins. That as the character levels up, their code of conduct changes, and in turn what they can and cannot do. Tied to the Oath talents are abilities, passives and what not.

For example:

Oath (Grand): Crusader
The paladin becomes a righteous crusader of his faith. They vow to seek out evil, wherever it may hide and to strike it down with all their might. Backing away from the opportunity to destroy a great evil is anathema to the crusader.
The crusader gains the "Holy Smite" power.

Oath (Grand): Guardian
The paladin becomes a sworn protector of this faith and community. They vow to prevent the innocent from coming to harm. Abandoning those that cannot help themselves to their fate is anathema to the guardian.
The guardian gains the "Retributive Strike" power.

Oath (Grand): Saint
The paladin follows the teachings of their faiths holy men and women. They vow to bring aid to those in need, cure the sick and heal the wounded. Disregarding the needs of the sick and the poor is anathema to the healer.
The saint gains the "Lay on Hands" power.

These are just examples. The nice thing about this, is that these are alignment agnostic. They define in broad terms, what the character is about, but does not limit him/her to any particular alignment, which seems to me to be one of the strongest point of contention so far.

As I understood it, the paladin was always a champion of justice (itself) empowered by the divine (as in the universe) and not some generic warrior of a deity with attitude.
Channeling the wrath of the gods is what clerics are for. Beating people up in the name of god is what a war priests are for. And screaming heresy and quoting Monty Python is what the inquisitor is for.

Concerning whether paladins only smite or only defend. They could previously do both. And they still can. Just because players tended to focus on the smiting before (because it was imba as a bag of kittens), doesn't mean they could not defend as well.
Those are just two approaches to the same problem. How to serve the cause of good. Hit people really hard until they stop being evil or defend the people from harm, so they in turn can rise up and destroy evil.

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Vali Nepjarson wrote:

The ACTUAL problem is what happens when people we would consider incapable of making their own decisions tries to do something that could harm themselves. 5 year old Timmy has snuck out of his house because he's gonna go slay the Dragon! The Liberator meets him a mile out from town. Can the Liberator actually stop him if he can't convince him to go back? Or does he just have to let the kids know try and go with him to try and keep him safe?

Most people...

Well you said it already. Certain people such as children, those below the generally accepted age of adulthood in the setting, people suffering from mental illness or disability and people under the influence can't make such decisions, because they cannot understand the ramifications of their actions. Stopping them and returning them home is generally the go to decision.

Protecting someone from harm can also mean preventing them from throwing themselves into harms way.

A few points to add.

I'd imagine that the chaotic good paladin would be all about fighting social injustice and freeing slaves. Not destroying lawful institutions.
If they do work and do good, he/she would be doing harm to the community, which would be completely against what they set out to do. Fighting a law that is unjust. Perfect target. Fighting the power just for the sake of sticking it to the man? Not so sure. Unless they're evil of course. We play characters, not fools or automatons (unless that is your choice to play your character like).

About the lawful good being being too strict and inflexible. With this edition they stated it outright, that if law and good ever comes into conflict, doing good is always preferable.
Which makes kind of sense. If you argue that laws are created to provide the people justice and thus can be considered good, this when you disregard laws that do not serve justice you are actually doing the good and lawful thing.

Lawmakers may or may not agree. Fun ensues.

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The Raven Black wrote:

I would love for "Paladins" to embrace their alignment

One solution I would greatly enjoy would be "Paladins" getting powers akin to those of outsiders that share their alignment

Archon Knights, Devil Knights, Demon Knights ...

This way when designing a race of outsiders, you can pretty easily design a new variant of "Paladins"

Barring that, I prefer the 4 corners with relevant names and abilities for each corner

I like where you are coming from with this idea. I always thought that paladins were empowered more by their code, their believe structure, than any deity directly.

If I recall correctly back in 3 or 3.5 clerics could worship a general faith or ideological concept rather than a deity and still draw their divine powers.

This could be applied to paladins as well. It would also open up the class to any alignment (if people so wanted).

I'd find it to be a much more appealing character concept, than what we have now. Instead of being a generic holy warrior / zealot of a deity (that supports the alignment) we have a martial character that is so dedicated to a particular cause, that they transcend their mortal limits. Like barbarians getting so angry, they defy physics, paladins are so dedicated to their ideals that the universe itself empowers them.

Also there are already plenty other options available to build a martial character dedicated to a deity already. Cleric, Cleric/Any Martial Class Combo, Inquisitor, War priest to name a few. Going that direction the paladin would get a whole new class identity.

Going that direction, we obviously can't have all variants in the CRB. For me (cause I like them that way) I'd go with the classic paladin being dedicated to the concept of Justic (itself) and other variants coming later through supplementary books.

Just my two cents.

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Well if you want to slaughter the holy cow, then go all the way. No reason to hold back.

Personally I like my paladins to be one alignment only, but that's just what they are to me. I see the appeal for them to be more varied.

If they really do go that direction, I'd hope they divest them from divine patrons all together. Paladins embody an ideals, dedicate themselves to a code. No deity required for that. Optional yes, but not required.

Would call them something else though. "Champions of" or "Paragon of".

Paragon of Justice
Paragon of Altruism
Paragon of Liberty

Paragon of Law
Paragon of Balance
Paragon of Chaos

Paragon of Tyranny
Paragon of Selfishness
Paragon of Injustice

You guess, which alignment they are.

Shaheer-El-Khatib wrote:
Leedwashere wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
ENHenry wrote:
doubt we'll see many Tuba-playing Bards, anyway.
I dunno, it feels like in this edition it's wholly possible to play a bard who never puts down their instrument to pick up a weapon, so I can see people who want to do this choosing to play whichever instrument conjures the most amusing mental image- sousaphone, marching glockenspeil, tenor drum kit, etc.

Can you use a didgeridoo as a staff?

I'm asking for a friend <.<

I now picture a Gnome Bard using a freaking triangle like a madman while laughing hysterically to make people confuse and angry.

Needs more cowbell!

The sling staff is a pretty boss ranged option.

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Why is there so much salt about this?

The paladin is an artifact of ye olde times. It's a deliberately restricted class, that simply is not for everyone and it doesn't have to be.

Why should it be opened to other alignments? The system provides you (meaning no one in particular, just people in general) with options to play any flavor of holy warrior with an agenda, right now. No additional rule books needed. If you (same as before) want the paladin package, you have to commit to it. Same as clerics.

I find it's actually a good thing, that these two classes at least are bound to some sort of guideline. No, you can't be the champion of justice and goodness and eat a kitten for breakfast. No, you can't be a servant of the god of freedom and be in support of a slaving despot.

Also it is not like you can't play different characters with the same alignment. From obsessed vigilante, to wide eyed idealist to the cynic going through the motions. These all can be lawful good characters - to name a few.

I'm all in favor for more champions of alignment, but I don't think you can really merge them all in a single class. How would you cater to the differents needs of such a diverse group. A champion of Neutrality (aka Balance) will be very different from a Hellknight (Lawful Evil) to an Agent of Chaos (Chaotic Neutral).

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EberronHoward wrote:
The only mechanical reason for ethnicities in the book is what extra language the Humans can speak. My advice is to remove that section, and allow ALL characters to add a regional language, even if their race isn't traditionally from that region.

I like this. Makes perfect sense, and is easy to implement. There really is no reason to split up the language section in the book.

Also why shouldn't elves, dwarves, halflings and goblins pick up on the regional dialect? Unless the Inner Sea region consists only of heavily segregated communities, where different species are prohibited from intermingling by law. Sure there will be places like that, but that can hardly be the norm.

Besides it's only the language section. If there were mechanical differences to ethnicity, they'd be handled like ancestries. Which is bound to happen for the more fantastical races as soon the Inner Sea Guide MKII and the Race Guide comes around.

A different take on the Paladin

Warning: Wall of Text inbound. Proceed at your own peril.

Browsing through the playtest forum I cannot help but notice a growing dissatisfaction with how one of the most iconic classes has been treated in the newest iteration of the Pathfinder roleplaying game. There are numerous calls to bring back iconic abilities from PF1, to uncouple them from new abilities or to change the way old time favorites work under the new action system. That the old abilities don't mesh well with the new, and that the class stifles itself with too many options that are all tied to a single (re)action each round. And maybe most damning of all. That the paladin is not actually good in the role it has been assigned. When the other martial classes are better at defending the party, while also dealing more damage, you know something is up.

For me personally I feel that the paladin lacks most in class identity. What makes a paladin in PF2?
Are they divine warriors blessed by the gods to heal the wounded, defend the weak, to punish the wicked and to lead their party from the front lines? Are they one of these things? Are they everything at once? Or are they a poor man's cleric or an even poorer man's fighter? The way I see it, the paladin offers nothing to the player, that a cleric or fighter can't equally do well or better by just multiclassing into one another. Flavor can be roleplayed. Which is kind of sad, really.

I get that in Pathinder 2 we can't get everything in equal measure. Almost none of the classes can do everything as well as they could in Pathfinder 1. Some have improved. Some haven't.
The paladin (for me) falls squarely in the latter category and no amount of fidgeting with ability numbers will solve that. The paladin needs clear class paths to follow. To shape its identity and to give it tools to perform well in that path.
I think this was very well done for the druid class, also the bard in small measure. This approach can be transposed for great effect.

I will state this outright. What I am going to present here is biased by my personal views on what a paladin is and is not. English is not my native tongue, so I am bound to make mistakes. Do I feel strongly for the paladin as a class? Yes, I do. Will everything, I present be perfectly balanced and on par with all other classes? Most likely not. I am not a game designer and I am not getting paid for this. Having said this, let’s begin, and thank you for sticking around until now:

The Paladin:

A paladin is a martial character, blessed by the divine to protect all that is good and just. These men and women are sworn to defend those that cannot defend themselves, punish those that would prey on the weak, provide succor to the sick and to provide guidance to those that are lost in the dark. They are spiritual people that have taken a personal oath to serve something much greater than themselves and would sacrifice freely if it means to bring about a better future. Where others waiver, the paladin stands tall. Where others lose their way, the paladin lights the way forward. They do the good work, no matter how hard it may be. They don't compromise on their ideals, even if it would damn them. They have taken an oath between themselves and their deity to do right right and only they can free them from that oath. The paladin is good and lawful. They are the champions of that alignment. There may be other champions for other alignments, but I think they should be made into their own respective classes, as there will be major differences between how these are set up. The exception to this is obvious the anti-paladin, which is just that. A paladin in reverse. But thats their entire stick. This is my starting point for the class. I may be alone in this view, but it is what it is.


Class Features:

Key Ability: Strength or Charisma
Added Charisma as a key ability. Paladin powers are keyed to charisma, and not being able to utilize those to their fullest is a waste. Paladins should be able to fill the role of the leader or party face as before.

Hit Points D10
As appropriate for a martial class. No change needed

Proficiencies and Signature skills
I feel that the selection of skills and proficiencies is adequate for the paladin. They're armed and armored and the skills match the fluff. Maybe reduce the number of trained skills from 4 to 3.

The paladin code: The paladin follows the paladin code as well as the commandments of his/her deity.
It's thematic. It's mechanically sound. It wouln't be a paladin if there wasn't a list of do's and don'ts.

Deific Weapon – Increase damage die if simple and gives proficiency
Maybe down the road we get more gods that allow paladins, that will actually benefit from this class feature. It doesn't cost us anything and is somewhat thematically appropriate. I suggest to have a feat line based on this.

Retributive Strike – Change the wording of the trigger condition.
"Trigger: A creature within your reach or half your weapons range increment hits and ally or friendly creature."
I personally like this feat. It's very thematic, and gives the paladin a tool to protect allies and aggravate their enemies. However the way it is now, it doesn't do enough.
Changing the base will give paladins with ranged weapons at least something to do. In addition I'd like a clarification what counts as a legal target for Retributive strike.
Personally it should be up to the player to protect whoever and whatever they want and not be limited to allied characters

Champion powers – Champion powers will be merged into the new Oath feat line.
I will keep most of this as it is. Spell points gained from Charisma and Trained in appropriate spell roles. I would remove the half level scaling however. The paladin gets only a few abilities, that have to contend with a very limited pool of ressources. No need to make them weak".

Class Feats / Skill Feats / Ancestry Feats stay as they are now.
[i]Changing this setup would move the class too far away from the mold, which would make a comperative balance with the other classes difficult at best.

Oath Feat (1st level) - See later section for more details

Righteous Spirit (3rd level) - The paladin is filled with divine essence. How this power manifests is tied to the oath they took at first level.

Blade Spirit - You channel your power through your weapon (manufactured and natural).
Choose a weapon property from the list and add it to the weapon you wield. You may only enhanche one weapon at a time.
This enhanchment works only as long as you physically wield your weapon. The list of properties expands at 9th, 15th and 20th level. You gain the critical specialization of your deities favored weapon.
I feel that the divine spirit is an integral part of the paladin and should grow along side. You will be restricted to a single ally and you only gain the critical specialization for a single weapon as a drawback.

Shield Spirit - Your channel your power into your shield to protect you from harm.
Any shield that you wiel can absorb more damage and can take more dents before becoming broken.
Your shield gains 2/8/14/20 hardness and 2 extra dents at 3rd, 9th, 15th and 20th level. In addition it can only take a single dent per attack (ignore critical).
Obviously this depends how the shield mechanic will evolve in the future. In any case, the paladins shield should not break as easily anymore.

Radiant Spirit - You channel your power outward.
You increase the range of your auras by 10/20/30/40 feet at 3rd, 9th, 15th and 20th level.
Right now your allies effectively hug you to benefit from your auras. The range increase may be too drastic making the abilties too powerful, but I like the mental image of the paladin embolding a throng of soldiers leading the charge.

Weapon Expertise (5th level) - Gain expert proficiency with a weapon group.
Personally I'd like to restrict it to the weapon group the deities favored weapon belongs too, but I think that would be too limiting / controversial.

Armor Fortitude (7th level) - Change "While wearing heavy armor, when you succeed at a Fortitude save, treat your result as a critical success instead." to "Reduce the penalty to movement due to heavy armor from 10 feet to 5 feet." - The fortitude save is nice but more speed would be better. Makes heavy armor less of a problem.
While I think making the fortitude saves better is nice, I feel that the lowered mobility is too steep a price for all ancestries except maybe elf or half-elf. I'll admit, that this is a point of contestion.

Holy Smite (9th level) - Removed entirely and reworked into another feat. Instead gain an oath feat.
[i]I think smite should stand on its own and not be an attachment of another ability. I don't have anything agains Retributive Strike causing permanent damage, but I find it too restrictive the way it is designed right now.

Aura of Justice (11th level) - Remove it from the class feature list and make place it in the feat list.
I think it has merit, but I need room to restructure the remaining class list.[i]

Armor Mastery (11th level) - Keep the wording as it is. Add another reduction of the movement penalty, enabling the paladin to move at full speed in heavy armor. Moved from 13th to 11th level.

Weapon Mastery (13th level) - Gain master proficiency with a weapon group. Moved from 15th to 13th level.
[i]Again I'd like to restrict it to the weapon group the deities favored weapon belongs to.

Oath Feat (15th level)

Legendary Armor (17th level) - Keep it as it is.

Hero’s Defiance (19th level) - Keep it as it is.


Paladin Oaths

Oathbound Warrior: On becoming a paladin the player must choose the way they want to serve the cause of goodness and righteousness.
This choice modifies the paladins code class feature, the paladins signature skills and grants a specific class power.

Oath (Grand): Crusader
The paladin becomes a righteous crusader of his faith. They vow to seek out evil, wherever it may hide and to strike it down with all their might. Backing away from the opportunity to destroy a great evil is anathema to the crusader.
The crusader gains either "Intimidate" or "Nature" as a signature skill.
The crusader gains the "Holy Smite" power.

Oath (Grand): Guardian
The paladin becomes a sworn protector of this faith and community. They vow to prevent the innocent from coming to harm. Abandoning those that cannot help themselves to their fate is anathema to the guardian.
The guardian gains either "Intimidate" or "Medicine" as a signature skill.
The guardian gains the "Bulwark of Faith" power.

Oath (Grand): Saint
The paladin follows the teachings of their faiths holy men and women. They vow to bring aid to those in need, cure the sick and heal the wounded. Disregarding the needs of the sick and the poor is anathema to the healer.
The saint gains either "Medicine" or "Society" as their signature skill.
The saint gains the "Lay on Hands" power.

Oath (Major): Herald
The paladin becomes a herald of their faith. They vow to bring the light to those lost in darkness. The paladin gains the "Beacon of Light" power.
Increase the proficiency in "Diplomacy" or "Medicine". If it wasn't that skill becomes a signature skill.

Oath (Major): Martyr
The paladin is emboldened by the tales of the martyrs of their faith and seek to emulate their example.
The paladin gains the "Paladin's sacrifice" power.
Increase the proficiency in "Diplomacy" or "Society". If it wasn't that skill becomes a signature skill.

Oath (Major): Envoy
The paladin becomes a mediator and diplomat.
The paladin gains the "Guarded truce" power. Increase the proficiency in "Diplomacy" or "Intimidation". If it wasn't that skill becomes a signature skill.

Oath (Major): Knight
The paladin embraces the chivalric virtues of legend.
The paladin gains the service of trained mount and the "Loyal Mount" power.
Increase the proficiency in "Nature". If it wasn't that skill becomes a signature skill.

This is obviously inspired by the way the druid order class feature works. I would like the paladin to be able to take several different directions, giving the player the option to play a more three dimensional character and not be locked into a singular role.
Having an offensive, defensive and supportive option gives the class much needed versatility. Obviously this will cause friction with other martial classes, as there will be an overlap with roles and capabilities, but I find outright locking out options for sake of giving everybody their own special little happy place is not a good idea.


Paladin Feats

[i]Here I fidgeted around with some of my own ideas and the content already presented. Most of the feats were kept as they are, as the fit. Just some need tweaking and some fresh items added. This is obviously based on personal prefence and in dire need of balancing.

[1] Lay on Hands - 1 Spell Point [Somatic Casting] - 1D4 per level plus Charisma modifier as healing or damage on undead. If Oath (Grand) Saint was chosen at first level increase to 1D6 instead.

[1] Holy Smite - 1 Spell Point [Free Action Verbal Casting] - Trigger: Start an attack - Add your charisma modifier (min 0) to the damage to the attack if it hits. This conditional bonus is considered good/holy damage. If Oath (Grand) Crusader was chosen at first level add charisma to the attack role.

[1] Bulwark of Faith - 1 Spell Point [Free Action Verbal Casting] - Trigger: When you are the target of an attack and you have used the "Raise shield" action in this round. Your shield counts as having twice the amount of hardness for this round. If your shield would receive a dent, it receives one dent less.

[1] Divine Tools - You may use your deities favored weapon to complete somatic casting components of your paladin powers. (Requires Deific Weapon)

[1] Deities Domain - Keep it as it is.

[2] Divine Grace - Reaction: Add your charisma modifier against on a saving throw against spell, spell-like and supernatural sources.

[2] Dragonslayer Oath (Minor)- You fight evil dragons with great fervor. Vow to destroy them if it is reasonable. All attacks against evil dragons have a reduced multiple attack penalty (counts as agile when attacking).

[2] Fiendslayer Oath (Minor)- You fight evil outsiders with great fervor. Vow to destroy them if it is reasonable. All attacks against evil outsiders have a reduced multiple attack penalty (counts as agile when attacking).

[2] Shining Oath (Minor) - You fight the undead with great fervor. Vow to destroy them if it is reasonable. All attacks against the undead have a reduced multiple attack penalty (counts as agile when attacking).

[2] Aura of Courage - Keep it as it is.

[4] Vengeful Oath (Minor) - Keep it as it is except add (Requires "Lay on Hands" power) as prerequisite.

[4] Mercy - Keep it as it is.

[4] Righteous Might - Add an additional weapon die to the damage role of your "Holy Smite"

[4] Divine Health - Gain your charisma modifier as a flat modifier on constitution checks against diseases and poison. If you succeed it counts as critical.

[4] Combat Patrol - Add the following feature to Retributive Strike. When an allied or friendly target is attacked you may take an immediate stride action to get into reach or half range increment. If you can't get into reach you can't take the additional stride action. If you take the stride action your Retributive Strike also takes the multiple attack penalty.

[6] Eternal Vigilance - Gain an additional reaction. It may only be used for Retributive Strike

[6] Shield Warden - You may use your shield block to protect an allied or friendly target (Requires Shield Ally)

[6] Blade of Justice - Your weapon strikes true. You gain the "True Strike" power. Increase spell points by 1. (Requires Blade Ally)

[6] Litany of Wrath - Change damage dice to 1D4 to account for full spell level otherwise as normal

[6] Guarded Life - When using Lay on Hands to heal an allied target, gain half (rounded down) of the hit points (Require Radiant Ally)

[8] Advanced Domain - Keep it as it is.

[8] Greater Mercy - Keep it as it is.

[8] Detect Evil - Keep it as it is.

[8] Have at thee! - Gain the "Have at thee!" ability. Costs 2 actions. 1 verbal 1 somatic (you brandish your weapon or shield).
Make an intimidate or deception check on all enemies in a 30 foot cone or 15 feet burst. If the fail their will the enemy must focus their attack (melee, range or spell) on you until the start of your next round. Area of effect effects can be used as long as you are affected.

--- Granted by Major Oath

[9] Paladin's sacrifice - Gain the Paladin's sacrifice power as normal

[9] Loyal Mount - The loyal mount power is a mash of the steed spirit ally and the loyal warhorse power. In short. Gain a full grown terrestrial animal companion with the mount special ability (counting only for you). The mount also never attacks you.


[10] Shield of Reckoning - As normal

[10] Divine Will - As normal

[10] Righteous Blade – For purpose of overcoming damage reduction all damage done by your "Holy Smite" power counts as good/holy damage. On a critical hit, add persistent damage equal to your charisma bonus.

[10] Divine Reach - Your deities favored weapon counts as having reach (for melee weapons) for Retributive strike (Requires Deific Weapon, Divine Tools)

[12] Affliction Mercy - Keep it as it is.

[12] Aura of Faith - Your critical attacks add 1 persistent good/holy damage. You grant this power to allies within 10 feet.

[12] Holy Wall - Keep it as it is.

[12] Armor of Faith - While wearing heavy armor count success on fortitude as crit. When subject to a critical hit make fortitude check with the DC of the damage. If you succeed take half damage. (Requires Bulwark of Faith)

[14] Call to judgment - Gain the call to judgment power. 2 Actions - 100 feet range - Mark a target creature for retribution. Until the start of your next round. When the targeted creature takes a strike or casting action all allies within reach or half their range increment can take a retributive strike reaction.

[14] Anchoring Aura - Keep it as it is.

[14] Aura of Live - Keep it as it is.

[14] Aura of Righteousness - Keep it as it is.

[14] Warding Aura - Keep it as it is.

[14] Litany of Righteousness - Keep it as it is.

--- Granted by Major Oath

[15] Beacon of Light - Scorch evil with a blinding ray of light. 2 Spell Points Verbal and Somatic Action - Deal 15D6 damage and blind on save. On Fail target is slowed and enfeebled. On Critical fail target is enervated.

[15] Sanctified Armistice - Gain the Sanctified Armistice power.
Costs / Gain 2 Spell Points. Takes two Verbal and one Somatic Action - All creatures in an 80 foot radius are under the effect of sanctuary for 10 minutes.
If a creature succeeds their will check and/or attacks one of the warded creatures they are struck by divine light. Deal 10D6 holy damage per attack


[16] Auspicious Mount - Keep it as it is except add the following line: "Your companion also gains the Savage or Nimble trait".

[18] Instrument of Zeal - Keep it as it is.

[18] Shield of Grace - Keep it as it is.

[18] Ultimate Mercy - Keep it as it is.

[20] Celestial Mount - Keep it as it is.

[20] Avatar - Gain the Avatar Spell as a power. 3 Spell Points

[20] Angelic Form - Keep it as it is.


Closing statement

If you stuck around this far, I humbly say thank you.

Since I can no longer edit my original post, here is the bit on the last oath:

Oath of the Herald

Theme:"The paladin is a herald of the divine. They inspire those around them to achieve great deeds through leadership and force of personality".

The paladin is a supportive leader, that assists his team with passive bonuses (auras), healing and buffs. They are less martially inclined as the other two, gains bonuses on skill use and focuses on mobility

For this line of paladins I would suggest reevaluating the existing champions powers for utility, usability and effectiveness. I was thinking of merging some of the chevalier powers (banner) into the paladin.

The herald must take the mount ally. Any animal companion of the paladin gains the mount special ability (but only for their paladin partner). The paladin gains the ride feat.

The herald adds the following line to the paladin code of conduct:"Lead with courage or assist those worthy of leadership to the best of your abilities".


Obviously this is all up for debate, but I do believe that by splitting the paladin into thematic lines far more players would be inclined to play the class upon launch, as it would offer far greater customability mechanically and role playing wise and maybe more importantly more flavor.

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I don't usually chime in on this board, but I do feel compelled to add something to the ongoing discussion around paladins, as it is one of my favorite classes hands down. I'll try to write something legible, but I can't make any promises.

I personally believe the paladin class, as it is now, should be rebuilt from the ground up. The current iteration of the class locks us into a singular role (that of the party defender), but fails to provide the necessary tools to fill out that role.

The paladin has few to no true offensive options available (smite being locked on a reaction comes to mind), and the defensive options depend highly on the generosity or foolhardiness of your GM. While thematically nice, retributive strike can more often than not be easily circumvented by enemy NPCs, and it is ridiculous to assume, that all campaigns will take part in a 3x3 rooms or corridors, just so that the paladin gets the possibility to shine.

I find most of the available champion powers to be lackluster at best. There are too few, with half level they don't scale that well, and frankly you don't get to have too many spell points to spend if you don't exclusively focus on charisma. Which ties into another gripe. I don't really see, how charisma actually benefits this martial class in this version of pathfinder. It gives you spell points, which is nice but can be substituted by multi-classing (Cleradin) and it boosts our smite. Which is tied to a reaction.

Permanent damage is powerful, but just to boost charisma to be able to douse demons in holy acid. Kind of a one trick pony.

I would propose that the class should be structured similarly to the druid or bard, as in that we need to choose the major theme at the start. Class feats associated with that theme get boosted, giving you an incentive to stay with that role. Call them orders or oaths, or something thematically appropriate. With this we can open up the possibilities, where the paladin can go and give more class and role playing opportunities to the player, instead of a singular role.

For example

Oath of the Crusader

Theme: "The crusader seeks out evil, where ever it may hide and roots it out with extreme force. There can be no mercy for those that pray on the innocent."

The crusader is a "proactive" defender. They gain a number of offensive options, while forgoing some of the defensive options a paladin normally gets. This could go along the line of increasing weapon proficiency for either a single weapon group or deific weapons at the cost of lower proficiency in heavy armor.

Add a holy smite action to the paladins arsenal.

General (all paladins): Use 1 spell point / champion power. Make a strike against a (visible, targetable) enemy within range. Add your charisma modifier (min 0) to your attack and damage roll. This bonus damage is good/holy damage.

Oath specific: the crusader turns all damage to good/holy.

Holy smite gains additional damage dice and debuff options further down the line. Also a two action version with charge (so two strides and a strike)

Crusaders must take the weapon ally.

A crusader adds the following line to the paladin code of conduct:"You may never back down from a challenge against a truly evil foe."

Oath of the Defender

Theme: "The defender holds the line against the enemies of his faith. They are the rock against wave after wave of enemies shatter themselves".

The defender keeps most of the same mechanics and themes of the current iteration the same. They focus on protecting the party and themselves with, thus becoming the groups prime tank.

Retributive strikes gets the following changes.

General (all oaths): Add a stride action to retributive strike. If a friendly or allied creature is attacked you may take a stride action to move up to your speed and intercept. You take attacks of opportunity as normal. If you can't get in range to strike the enemy you can't take this action.

Oath specific: While wielding your deities favorite weapon you may add reach to the weapon properties, when making a retributive strike.

Retributive strike can later be upgraded to use a step action (same range) instead of a stride action, you may gain additional uses per round, you can add more and nastier debuffs or you can use it on yourself as well.

Defenders must take the shield ally. They gain the divine grace feat, which grants static bonuses (instead of a reaction).

A defender adds the following line to the paladin code of conduct: "You may never abandon a party member as long as there is a chance to save them".

Oath of Heroism (Champion Powers, Leadership)

I was thinking of questing knights, healing the sick, rallying the local populace to overthrow tyranny and generally being the party face. Less martially inclined (or at least less hands on) as the other two variants.

The heroic paladin could focus on buffing his allies with auras and some better champion powers. Additionally they get the mount. This one I'd need to think through some more, but I liked the idea of the paladin being the shiny beacon of hope.

Going in this direction we open up so many possibilities to play the class as people would like. And with this I ran out of steam and ideas. I may edit this later for form, grammar and spelling, but I do hope my point (if any) came across.