Ah, Sovereign - my most awesome D&D character of all time. He's been remade with each new edition (though only played once, but often appears as an NPC in my games or my friends' games).
Originally in 3rd ed, he was a half-celestial, half-human, half-dragon. He'd explain this with an utterly straight face. The build was simple - Human with the half-celestial template, a single level of sorc, 7 levels of paladin, and 10 levels of gold dragon disciple (later versions went beyond 18th level, but this was the original). What he lacked in spellcasting and subtlety he made up for in brute strength and kindness. By 'brute strength' I mean '50' - not quite a min/max, as the rest of the group matched this level of 'seriously?' By 'kindness' I mean 'he was the nicest person you've ever met.' His power level called for greater smiting of greater threats - random evil people really never deserved a smiting. He did try and sing the 'let's all be good to each other' song using a lute to a couple of low-level thieves he caught. I think it worked - they promised to stop being evil.
Of course, if you were a devil or demon, he would cleave into you with his pair of holy greatswords. Eventually we started recording his damage as 'BPM' - 'Balors per minute.' Twas good fun. He's actually the inspiration for my friend's current campaign world as the god of the sun (and paladins). His paladins tend to match his level of... kindness, I guess is the best way to put it. Silver-age superhero banter is NOT uncommon from a paladin of sovereign. The head paladin is currently an epic level goblin named Beez.
Anytime any paladin meets him, it goes something like this:
Beez: "Greetings, fellow paladin. I am the head paladin, Beez."
Paladin: *GASP!* "BEES? WHERE!" *DUCKS*
Paladin: "I case my anti-bees spell. Did they go away?"
Beez: "Yes. Now, as I was saying, my name is Beez."
Paladin: *GASP!* "THEY'RE BACK!"
I've had the great fortune to witness several great paladins over the years (including Ardurak Loka'tan upthread, who did indeed convert that Rogue). Others included:
Xavier - Prince of Taran - so righteous he eventually became a death knight.
Mei-yeung - holy, but utterly obsessed with money and magic - gold-plated her temple.
Grandville/Stephanie - got tricked by a peddler into putting on a girdle of masculinity/femininity. This was only corrected years later by a gift from her/his father - an arch-villain. Also slew a prisoner (on "Death Row") to prevent him from being sacrificed to the god of death... twice.
Bhad-luc - the unluckiest character I ever saw.
I've also been playing Leinad Gaelbraithe - a halfling actor in Westcrown, who loved to play the boards as the over-zealous knight so common in Chelish plays and operas. Actually fighting dire evils resulted in his 'ascension' to paladinhood - though he's still quite over the top most of the time, and sometimes confuses his play lines with reality. "Your doing of evil shall be put to an end this day, by mighty Aro, er, Erastil's name!"
|The Admiral Jose Monkamuck|
It might not be a PC, but rather a novel character, but everyone who wants pointers about playing a very holy but not holier-than-thou paladin should read the Dresden Files. Michael Carpenter, a Knight of the Cross embodies an ideal every LG divine servant should aspire to. Not just purity of faith and all that stuff, but the affability and tolerance to go with it, and behaviour that really is leading by example, and not just bullying others into playing nice.
I will second that and add another book or two. The Deeds of Paksenarrion. I've been tempted to make it required reading for anyone who wants to play a paladin. Also The War Dod's Own series by David Weber.
|The Eldritch Mr. Shiny|
I had a pretty awesome paladin character for quite some time--actually the first character I ever took from level 1 to level 20+. The campaign, a homebrew, eventually ended up with the entire party slaying a demonic quasi-deity and becoming a new pantheon of gods.
Basically, my character (at the end, an artificer 1 / paladin 11 / Infused PrC 10), was a walking (eventually, flying) tank. The original concept (big guy in full plate armor carrying a small, one-handed firearm) ended up getting completely distorted near the end of the campaign by the addition of a giant flaming sword and a pair of wings, but I still had a lot of fun. Personality-wise, Daniel, my paladin, was the most obnoxiously self-righteous, well-meaning jerk you could ever meet. He was anal-retentive to the extreme (to the point of being comical--up until he started turning into an angel- he got more serious after that), and fastidiously clean, using prestidigitation to clean himself without taking his armor off. Daniel was brash and foolhardy (note: his catchphrase: "AHA! A QUEST!" yelled as loudly as possible, in character, and his multiple instances of insulting demon lords), but was a veritable unstoppable force in combat.
One odd story involved the use of Daniel as fodder for a makeshift catapult, because, as you know, paladins can bypass DR/good if used as projectiles. What happened was the other party members winched him up onto a parapet with a block-and-tackle, and then dropped him on a huge demon. Maybe shooting it would have been easier, but this was more fun.
I recently had the good fortune to DM a Council of Thieves game where a long-time friend played a paladin of Iomedae.
He started off Human, but about 3rd level he went after some "Shadow Beasts" and got himself dead.
He was reincarnated as a Troglodyte, and proceeded to survive the escalating horrors with ease. Before his death, the game was about evenly balanced; everyone was about 1 CR higher than predicted, nothing too out of the ordinary for our group.
Afterwards, he was all but unhittable by anything of appropriate CR, yet was convinced that Iomedae had done this specifically to punish him (for being stupid, male, and arrogant). This meant he almost always charged directly into the baddest, nastiest scrums you can imagine, with normal disregard for his own safety.
Combine that image, with badly delivered "Ho-Ha! I Am Heroic" lines and hands on hips, and you've got Job, the Lizardin.
|A Reptile Of Radiance|
An NPC that could have been called the GM's own PC: Tabris.
Think of Shrek's Prince Charming, both in appearance and cocky demeanors.
Think that at the time Shrek hadn't even been conceived.
Imagine that one day he alone entered a troublesome Gnoll camp telling us: "Leave it to me!", blond hair to the wind and shining smile with arched eyebrow.
Think that we never heard of him since.
Imagine how much we all laughed when we saw Prince Charming for the first time on a "Shrek series-evening".