|Tim Hunt 103|
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I came to pathfinder after running/playing 4e for a couple of years.
In 4e, a paladin is a fighter with a Divine power source, and it doesn't matter what god or alignment they play (as long as they matched). While playing 4e, this made sense to me. Every god should have priests and warriors. The 4e roles lock the cleric into a leader role, so the paladin is needed as a defender. Done.
When coming to pathfinder, I saw that a paladin was a Paladin. Their class features aren't 'some divine power' but 'shining holy knight'. The flavour of them is significantly different from 'a divine fighter', and I feel that really should be preserved. Every god can have warriors and priests (through multiclassing and battle clerics, there isn't a huge difference between the two), but only the knightly-order-type-gods get paladins.
It is a huge selling point to me that being a paladin means being one of the *special* orders of knights. The paladins of Bahamut, Iomadae, whatever. If Vecna has paladins, and Desna has paladins, and lamashtu has paladins and the raven queen has paladins, and Tiamat has paladins... Paladin just becomes a byword for divine fighter.
I don't have nostalgia for the restrictions, I came from the other direction, and I think it is abjectly better this way*. My personal opinion/experience is that the class loses any actual identity. I flatly do not consider the alignment a balance matter.
Other people can play however they like, and as long as you don't bring it to my game I won't argue with your right to.
For the books though, I'm glad they kept it for the RAW. It is fundamentally harder to take something away from your players than it is to give it to them. If the book said "any alignment at all, have fun" I would have more trouble putting it back in than one would have taking it out.
* mind you, I'm a fan of versimilitude over player indulgement. Hell, I somewhat approve of racial class restrictions. You cant play a Gnome barbarian, because the idea is ridiculous and you are asking me and the other players to continually ignore the fact that being 2'4" has only minor detriment to your ability with a great axe. For some of us, that dramatic suspension of disbelief is actually a major source of fun.
Again, not balance, just versimilitude.