The "Paladin in Name Only"


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I'd like to point out that if there were any methods of determining whether or not someone was a Paladin that they would definitely be used by the paladins at the Worldwound, who have previously been infiltrated by an antipaladin. Yet somehow there are ex-paladins in their army who have gone unnoticed.


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Fromper wrote:
Tectorman wrote:
LuniasM wrote:
If you ask me, following the paladin code means much more for people who aren't paladins. If you aren't a Paladin, keeping the code gives you nothing and you have nothing to lose by breaking it, so the decision to follow it anyway says something about your morals and the strength of your character. That's way more compelling than "I have to follow this code or lose my powers".

That's how I see it.

...

A LG Fighter gets exactly diddly zilch for being LG, and he's at risk of losing the same (again, zilch nada) if he decides to stop. A LG Fighter, tired and injured, going after those slavers and saying "Nope. Lawful good." is, IMO, a million times the heroic character any Paladin could ever dream of being.

These types of posts bug me. Following a paladin code isn't something paladins do because they're paladins. Rather, being a paladin is what happens to someone when they follow the code.

Some of you are making it sound like paladins follow the code in exchange for powers. As if it's commerce, one thing for another. Like they'd stop if they didn't get those magical abilities. But that's not why they do it.

A paladin is someone who would behave that way even if there was no code. They'd behave that way even if they didn't know what their god expected of them. A paladin is someone whose natural behavior is that paladin code, and the fact that their deity rewards them with the powers to make the job easier is just a bonus.

Just to come back to my own example from earlier in this thread, I have a Chosen One archetype paladin who didn't choose to become a paladin. A talking songbird approached her one day, led her to a rusty katana, and when she picked it up, she magically knew how to use it. The goddess Shizuru granted her paladin powers and an emissary familiar to guide her, because she knew Misaki would use those abilities to fight evil and help people, in the most honorable way possible. That's just who she is. Misaki literally doesn't know the word "paladin", doesn't even know that there is a paladin code, yet follows it anyway. She's a paladin because that's how she behaves, not the other way around.

I like this version, although it does then beg another question. Say my warrior fights, and despite the anger in her, she tames it, controls it, uses it, all according to the teachings of her god. She looks to him, sought his aid in controlling her wrath, and tries to live by his ideals. There is no glory in waging war against the weak; it's dishonourable. And she's been pretty good at keeping her word.

Things like this ... are why sometimes I worry that I'll have a fallen barbarian of Gorum one of these days. 'Sorry, Qaianna, you're too lawful. It's paladin time!'


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LuniasM wrote:
I'd like to point out that if there were any methods of determining whether or not someone was a Paladin that they would definitely be used by the paladins at the Worldwound, who have previously been infiltrated by an antipaladin. Yet somehow there are ex-paladins in their army who have gone unnoticed.

Even more fun: ex-paladin and antipaladin are not synonomous. 'Yeah, used to be a pally. But then the sergeant got all holier-than-thou, and someone hadda save that burning orphanage, so I told him where to stick his holy avenger..'


Dave Justus wrote:
Neal Litherland wrote:


I think there's a misunderstanding here.

I don't think it is a misunderstanding so much as a diversion into a corner of the topic where the questions are more debatable and harder to figure out.

I don't think there is any debate that a character can behave as a Paladin would behave without being a Paladin.

I think the question whether 'in universe' classes (some or all) are specific and relatable to in-universe qualities or merely abstract and only something the players, not the characters, can apprehend is an interesting one. 'Paladin' seems to be something that is specific and understandable from within the Pathfinder universe. 'Fighter' most likely isn't.

In the Golarion universe, you would call someone who brews potions and restoratives an Alchemist, would you not? Even if said person is actually an Investigator or a Wizard who took Brew Potion. That is the comparison I make when referring to Paladin as a class and paladin as a title. Someone with similar capabilities and powers would have a similar or identical title in game, or at least that is the reasoning. There are some items that wouldn't work for an Investigator that would for an Alchemist, and people would recognize that, but why would they come to the conclusion that the person wasn't actually an Alchemist? Not being able to use an item doesn't change the fact that the person still brews potions. A Champion of the Faith Warpriest might not be a Paladin, but they are holy warriors who follow the paladin code, can smite evil, and heal with a touch. As far as in-game titles go, why would that person not be called a paladin?

Shadow Lodge

Sometimes I think the fall is more for the benefit of non-paladins than paladins. Few people have the kind of moral strength necessary to hold to such high moral standards without any incentive, and those who don't have it often don't understand it. Saying that the paladin swore an oath and that they will lose their power if they break that oath - that's easier for the average person to understand and to trust. I think it's also related to the tendency to see the fall as a punishment, rather than the paladin simply losing the required moral strength to channel the pure power of Good.

Of course, I also wouldn't be surprised if remembering the consequences of a fall helped the occasional paladin back off from temptation, for which the paladin would probably be thankful in hindsight.

Dave Justus wrote:

The point isn't really whether any specific test is practical. The point is that if such a test does exist, (the Holy Avenger is the clearest, since it doesn't rely on anything else but being a Paladin) then there is some real measurable quality that is 'Palidinhood' that is gained if you have levels in the class Paladin.

So being a Paladin is objectively true or false not only as an abstraction from outside the system (what we see has players) but also from within the system from the point of view of the characters. Someone is a Paladin or they are not.

Things that can't practically be tested for can get a bit... fuzzy... even if they are deep down objectively true or false.

I'm recalling an outbreak of H1N1 flu a few years ago in which the local health authorities told people that it was too expensive to test for the specific strain and that anyone with the flu should assume they had H1N1.

Similarly, if you had a place with a lot of people claiming to be called to service as paladins, didn't have the resources to test these people, and if it wasn't too costly to assume they were being honest, you'd take them at their word unless they turned around and started kicking puppies. I'm actually seeing the Worldwound as a place where this might be the case, since there's got to be a pretty good turnover among their demon hunters.

On the other hand, if the situation is a little more stable it might be worth it to assume a negative until someone is tested. I could see a kingdom keeping a Holy Avenger on hand and bringing it out once a year in order to officially recognize any Paladins and give them that "guaranteed moral goodness" certification. This would mean you'd be more likely to have unrecognized people filling the paladin role floating around, whether humble Paladins who didn't bother to get certified or members of other classes who do the job without the benefits package.

I can't recall anyone in Golarion being expected to pull out their paladin documentation, though I must admit I'm not that familiar with the setting...


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I see that magic item use has been suggested a few times above to test for Paladinhood. But if somebody had a really cranked Use Magic Device score, they could fool even Paladin-specific items (granted, they would need to be really high level and have the UMD Skill Unlock to make this reliable).

Actually, come to think of it, a good magic item for a spy would be something that strongly boosts Use Magic Device (on top of the boost provided by +Stat items).

Shadow Lodge

I was actually wondering if I should bring that up, because I'm unclear on whether UMD actually allows you to emulate a class or just a class feature, which wouldn't be enough for some items including the Holy Avenger. But when I google "use magic device holy avenger" I get a lot of people saying it works.


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Weirdo wrote:
On the other hand, if the situation is a little more stable it might be worth it to assume a negative until someone is tested. I could see a kingdom keeping a Holy Avenger on hand and bringing it out once a year in order to officially recognize any Paladins and give them that "guaranteed moral goodness" certification. This would mean you'd be more likely to have unrecognized people filling the paladin role floating around, whether humble Paladins who didn't bother to get certified or members of other classes who do the job without the benefits package.

Who's to say that that's not how it would work, but that folks in-universe would even care?

"And with that you have passed your second-to-final test and have now achieved the title of Paladin. If you'll come this way, we have one final test."

"What is my final test? I have already slain several demons, though to be honest, I think I lucked out having some of those spells in my spellbook."

"No, nothing like that. Our scholars and theologians are attempting to discern the full nuances of our code, and one of their requests was that we have all of our Paladins attempt to wield the Sword of Divine Retribution that we keep on-hand. Yes, I know that as a Mage, you will probably not show facility with this weapon, but we must still go through the test."

"And if I cannot draw forth any of its magicks? What then?"

"Then nothing. As far as we know, there are Paladins for whom this sword resonates and Paladins for whom this sword does not. You have sworn the oath. The approval of a random trinket is a concern for others to decipher. Worry yourself not."


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Tectorman?

+1 good sir.


I'm rather shocked, to be honest, about the very little respect there is in this thread toward Paladins. It's really very sad.

The Paladin class in both Lore and simple fact shouldn't be taken so lightly. They aren't "just a class" as in lore-wise anyone could be a Fighter but being a Paladin is special.


Tectorman wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
On the other hand, if the situation is a little more stable it might be worth it to assume a negative until someone is tested. I could see a kingdom keeping a Holy Avenger on hand and bringing it out once a year in order to officially recognize any Paladins and give them that "guaranteed moral goodness" certification. This would mean you'd be more likely to have unrecognized people filling the paladin role floating around, whether humble Paladins who didn't bother to get certified or members of other classes who do the job without the benefits package.

Who's to say that that's not how it would work, but that folks in-universe would even care?

"And with that you have passed your second-to-final test and have now achieved the title of Paladin. If you'll come this way, we have one final test."

"What is my final test? I have already slain several demons, though to be honest, I think I lucked out having some of those spells in my spellbook."

"No, nothing like that. Our scholars and theologians are attempting to discern the full nuances of our code, and one of their requests was that we have all of our Paladins attempt to wield the Sword of Divine Retribution that we keep on-hand. Yes, I know that as a Mage, you will probably not show facility with this weapon, but we must still go through the test."

"And if I cannot draw forth any of its magicks? What then?"

Snipping to write the real ending...

"Then you are not worthy of the title Paladin. You will continue on, as you have, and do what you do, but will not call yourself, nor be recognized as, a Paladin."

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber
HWalsh wrote:
Snipping to write the real ending...

You mean your ending. Both are valid in different settings.


You seem a little close to the topic, as many become when someone talks about a favorite class. No one is being disrespectful. People are stating their views and not just bowing to the existence of the paladin and putting it on a pedestal.

Sovereign Court

TriOmegaZero wrote:
HWalsh wrote:
Snipping to write the real ending...
You mean your ending. Both are valid in different settings.

This.

People are arguing as if there is a real answer to this. It's a world-building issue and will obviously vary between worlds. (I prefer the idea that the class & profession are synonymous and I get the impression that it's so in Golarion, but it's a perfectly valid setting choice to make it otherwise.)


I kinda want to build a Paladin of Sarenrae using Ninja now, because of the line in her Paladin code about fighting fairly when the fight is fair, and ending it quickly and without mercy when it isn't. My smite? Sneak Attack.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Both are valid in different settings.

I don't think anyone is arguing that you can have a setting where wizards, clerics, and even rogues who are champions of good and popularly refereed to as Paladins, even perhaps being an official title. Similarly you could have a setting where all Paladins (the class) serve one specific god and have a distinctive marking so that everyone knows who they are, and there is no confusion. You could have a setting where Paladin (the class) exists but no one has ever heard the term and doesn't realize that these particular warriors are different from any other.

That really isn't in dispute or doubt.

The questions we are really discussing are 1) how do Paladins fit into Golarion, what is known about them, what does it mean if someone from Golarion calls themselves a Paladin etc. and 2) What does the system tell us about 'Paladinhood' is it a detectable feature and thus something that is 'real' inside the universe or is it only an abstraction like some other elements of the system are.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber
Dave Justus wrote:
The questions we are really discussing are 1) how do Paladins fit into Golarion, what is known about them, what does it mean if someone from Golarion calls themselves a Paladin etc. and 2) What does the system tell us about 'Paladinhood' is it a detectable feature and thus something that is 'real' inside the universe or is it only an abstraction like some other elements of the system are.

That explains our difference in opinion as those are NOT the questions I have been answering nor the questions that I think the OP asked. My understanding of the OP has been in reference to the Pathfinder RPG, NOT in respect to the Golarion campaign setting.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Dave Justus wrote:
The questions we are really discussing are 1) how do Paladins fit into Golarion, what is known about them, what does it mean if someone from Golarion calls themselves a Paladin etc. and 2) What does the system tell us about 'Paladinhood' is it a detectable feature and thus something that is 'real' inside the universe or is it only an abstraction like some other elements of the system are.
That explains our difference in opinion as those are NOT the questions I have been answering nor the questions that I think the OP asked. My understanding of the OP has been in reference to the Pathfinder RPG, NOT in respect to the Golarion campaign setting.

Settings can be so varied that any answer is of course possible. So we are left with the setting we know in common, and what the system says that the characters themselves can determine.

As an example, characters obviously know that magic exists. There are multiple ways that that can be determined. Taking it a step deeper, there are some clear differences between divine and arcane magic (scrolls are the clearest example) and obviously the characters would have to be able to figure this out, and thus it would have meaning. Between Cleric spells and Druid spells it is even less clear. Spellcraft skill might could reveal that there are spells that clerics don't have that druids do and vice versa even though both are prepared divine casters. As we go deeper and into finer distinctions like this, at each level it becomes more and more plausible that characters wouldn't be able to objectively tell a difference, and the mechanical differences are only abstractions but not something that could be observed within the system itself.

This is in reference to that Pathfinder RPG as a system. Obviously Paladin exists in the system at least as an abstraction for the players (it is a class after all.) Less obvious is if Paladin is an objective concept that could be determined from within the system.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber
Dave Justus wrote:
Settings can be so varied that any answer is of course possible.

This is why I cut them out of consideration completely.

Shadow Lodge

Tectorman, very interesting scenario, though I do think that the longer the tradition with the sword goes on, the greater the chances are that someone will figure out what traits are associated with activating the sword. Your dialogue acknowledges it would be pretty obvious that mages generally don't (presumably a few multiclass mages do). Eventually they'd hit the big one - the fact that the ones who lose power upon breaking the code have all been able to activate the sword. And I do think that the possibility of a fall is supposed to be a part of the general understanding or legend of a paladin in most peoples' minds. How long it takes them to figure it out, of course, depends on things like how common it is for paladins to fall.

HWalsh wrote:

I'm rather shocked, to be honest, about the very little respect there is in this thread toward Paladins. It's really very sad.

The Paladin class in both Lore and simple fact shouldn't be taken so lightly. They aren't "just a class" as in lore-wise anyone could be a Fighter but being a Paladin is special.

I love paladins. I respect paladins. I am so fascinated by paladins I can't keep my little goblin face out of any thread discussing paladins.

My bloodrager/monk character is currently trying to out-paladin the party paladin, and it is awesome.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
HWalsh wrote:


Snipping to write the real ending...

"Then you are not worthy of the title Paladin. You will continue on, as you have, and do what you do, but will not call yourself, nor be recognized as, a Paladin."

I think this would actually be a cool plotline, just for the wrong reasons from your perspective HWalsh.

An order of paladins so obsessed with the 'purity' of their order and rooting out 'false' paladins that they end up losing their way and becoming a corrupted, twisted mockery of themselves, forsaking the path of good and righteousness for their obsession.


UnArcaneElection wrote:

Not sure if this is official, but Pathfinder seems to use "Priest" as the generic term for the servants of a church/temple/religion more generally.

* * * * * * * *

And on the more sordid end, you might be amused by this thread.

I love that thread so much <3


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Neal Litherland, in the original post wrote:

...you don't HAVE to take paladin levels to play a knight in shining armor who follows a code and always tries to do the right thing.

However, the biggest push back to this is that there seems to be a lot of assumptions being made regarding the paladin. The two big ones I kept running into were:

1) All paladins are called paladins in-game. When they fill out their adventurer tax forms, that's what they put under job description. Not knight, or soldier of the faith, or any other title given to them by the organization (if any) they operate as part of.

2) All paladins must be part of an organization that is paladins-only. Even if they're part of an established church, paladins are sequestered into their own sections just because of their abilities.

As far as I'm aware, there isn't anything in the text that supports these assumptions. Paladins don't have to come from a holy order, and may have never seen someone like themselves before, as far as I'm aware. Additionally, given how rare they are supposed to be, it seems ridiculous that there would be a specific name for them known by the entire population. They have an unmistakeable aura of good, but what are the chances of most of the in-game population knowing the difference between a warpriest, a cleric, and a paladin? Especially if they all serve the same church, or divinity? For that matter, what are the chances of the PARTY knowing the difference, if most of them haven't had much contact with the divine or the mystical before?

Emphasis mine.

I have to agree with your perspective 100%.

As to the question about what the term "Paladin" (or the name of any character class) means in-game: This ENTIRELY depends on how the GM has set up the world!

I already mentioned how I run this in my version of Golarion.

Other GMs are free to interpret this as they see fit.

As long as the GM and players are on the same page... what's the problem again?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

It's good to agree with ya for once, Haladir.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Dave Justus wrote:
The questions we are really discussing are 1) how do Paladins fit into Golarion, what is known about them, what does it mean if someone from Golarion calls themselves a Paladin etc. and 2) What does the system tell us about 'Paladinhood' is it a detectable feature and thus something that is 'real' inside the universe or is it only an abstraction like some other elements of the system are.
That explains our difference in opinion as those are NOT the questions I have been answering nor the questions that I think the OP asked. My understanding of the OP has been in reference to the Pathfinder RPG, NOT in respect to the Golarion campaign setting.

I was, indeed, hoping to get Golarion specific answers. As we've seen, answers vary based on world. The only way any of us can agree on something is to look at a specific setting. And since this is the Paizo forum, it seemed like assuming we were talking about Golarion should go without saying.

Also, it's easier to quote since I'm guessing we all have access to at least some parts of the published fluff.

Shadow Lodge

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Weirdo wrote:
HWalsh wrote:

I'm rather shocked, to be honest, about the very little respect there is in this thread toward Paladins. It's really very sad.

The Paladin class in both Lore and simple fact shouldn't be taken so lightly. They aren't "just a class" as in lore-wise anyone could be a Fighter but being a Paladin is special.

I love paladins. I respect paladins. I am so fascinated by paladins I can't keep my little goblin face out of any thread discussing paladins.

My bloodrager/monk character is currently trying to out-paladin the party paladin, and it is awesome.

I'd like to extend this comment, because I think it's important.

Yes, Paladins are special, and not just anyone can be one.

But Paladins are special because of their character, their moral strength, not because of the particular powers they have. The powers are a side-effect, a tool to help them translate their heroic attitude into heroic deeds.

A Fighter with that same character, that same moral strength, is also special.

I believe it is appropriate to encourage that special heroism regardless of character class. I believe that there are many ways to play such special characters, whether it's living the life of a paladin with a different class's set of tools, or a character like Fromper's that doesn't see themselves as a paladin, just someone doing the right thing.

I don't believe that honouring heroism dishonours paladins, because for me, "heroism" is what "paladin" means.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber
Neal Litherland wrote:
I was, indeed, hoping to get Golarion specific answers. As we've seen, answers vary based on world. The only way any of us can agree on something is to look at a specific setting. And since this is the Paizo forum, it seemed like assuming we were talking about Golarion should go without saying.

The fact that they have a Campaign Setting subsection has always led me to believe otherwise.


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Squiggit wrote:
HWalsh wrote:


Snipping to write the real ending...

"Then you are not worthy of the title Paladin. You will continue on, as you have, and do what you do, but will not call yourself, nor be recognized as, a Paladin."

I think this would actually be a cool plotline, just for the wrong reasons from your perspective HWalsh.

An order of paladins so obsessed with the 'purity' of their order and rooting out 'false' paladins that they end up losing their way and becoming a corrupted, twisted mockery of themselves, forsaking the path of good and righteousness for their obsession.

Gave me an idea for a new character of my own. Someone from Lastwall with the auspicious mark background trait. He's been told his whole life that a god favors him, and everyone has interpreted that mark as him being culled out for great things. So he trains, he fights, he studies, and does everything in his power to try and hold up to the promise... but it never comes. While he may be a skilled master at arms, a champion horseman, and a learned scholar of history, divinity never shines through him. That mark never bursts into light.

What does he do? Does he keep the faith, hold his head high, and in time realize that he's become a self-fulfilling prophecy? Or does he grow embittered? People who say he isn't worthy of being more than a man, whispering behind their hands when he's snubbed for promotion or denied credit? Does he turn away, scarring over the birthmark, corrupting it, seeking power in another form? The might of steel, and the command of dangerous, bloodthirsty men? Bargains with devils, who at least hold up their end of the agreement? The pursuit of blasphemous items of power, allowing him to transcend mortality and become a god among men?

Essentially, the story of a paladin's fall, but without the paladin levels.


^This reminds me of why it is messed up that Lawful Good Paladins AND Chaotic Evil Antipaladins are allowed, but not any other flavor of Holy Warrior base class (and Warpriest doesn't count). If you fall to Lawful Evil, you can't become an Antipaladin(*), whereas if you fall to Chaotic Evil, Devils aren't going to give you a workable deal.

(*)Pending release of the Insinuator archetype -- let'ssee if this does what is needed.


UnArcaneElection wrote:

^This reminds me of why it is messed up that Lawful Good Paladins AND Chaotic Evil Antipaladins are allowed, but not any other flavor of Holy Warrior base class (and Warpriest doesn't count). If you fall to Lawful Evil, you can't become an Antipaladin(*), whereas if you fall to Chaotic Evil, Devils aren't going to give you a workable deal.

(*)Pending release of the Insinuator archetype -- let'ssee if this does what is needed.

Paladin of Freedom, Slaughter,and Tyranny were all options as was the blackguard in v3.5. It's very easy to incorporate them into Pathfinder with almost a perfect fit (swap out spells and maybe a class feature or 2).


Weirdo wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
HWalsh wrote:

I'm rather shocked, to be honest, about the very little respect there is in this thread toward Paladins. It's really very sad.

The Paladin class in both Lore and simple fact shouldn't be taken so lightly. They aren't "just a class" as in lore-wise anyone could be a Fighter but being a Paladin is special.

I love paladins. I respect paladins. I am so fascinated by paladins I can't keep my little goblin face out of any thread discussing paladins.

My bloodrager/monk character is currently trying to out-paladin the party paladin, and it is awesome.

I'd like to extend this comment, because I think it's important.

Yes, Paladins are special, and not just anyone can be one.

But Paladins are special because of their character, their moral strength, not because of the particular powers they have. The powers are a side-effect, a tool to help them translate their heroic attitude into heroic deeds.

A Fighter with that same character, that same moral strength, is also special.

I believe it is appropriate to encourage that special heroism regardless of character class. I believe that there are many ways to play such special characters, whether it's living the life of a paladin with a different class's set of tools, or a character like Fromper's that doesn't see themselves as a paladin, just someone doing the right thing.

I don't believe that honouring heroism dishonours paladins, because for me, "heroism" is what "paladin" means.

No. It doesn't.

Paladin is a package. Its not just an in-universe title, it is a class that is the only class that can be called Paladin.

Under your logic we should just get rid of the Paladin class, there is no point. Oh, anyone can call themselves a Paladin? Then anyone can lie. Anyone can do evil and retain their abilities. Anyone is failible.

Paladins, the class, AND the title, aren't.

When a Paladin speaks, he speaks the truth, there is no question. If people question it then they are idiots and fools.

There HAS TO BE an in-universe way to spot those with the Paladin class.

Why? There are things like Atonement spells that are designed for Paladins and Clerics. There are Paladin-only spells. There are Paladin-only items.

Those are Paladins.

A non-Paladin calling himself a Paladin, getting the same social benefit from the work that real Paladins have to do, that is wrong. Not just wrong, it is borderline on an abomination for not only modern Paladins but also Paladins of the past.

Am I a Paladin fan?

Paladin fan until I die. Played them back in 2nd Edition when they SUCKED hard core compared to a Fighter *and* they required insane stats. When you couldn't ever class out of it without losing everything.

They are special. The base core class is special.

To weaken the title, in this fashion, simply to get a rise out of longtime fans... Not really a cool thing to do.

I guess anyone who dual wields now is a rogue right?
Anyone who makes an unarmed attack is a monk huh?

No. Of course not.

If some person who took Improved Unarmed combat who was a Sorcerer ran around calling himself a Monk, the Monk orders, in-game, would be twitched off about it.

You have one group who trains, endlessly, to unlock those special powers. Who makes a lifelong pledge to a god, a goddess, or an ideal and agrees to a certain set of limitations. They gain the social benefit of having their word, their honor, unquestioned.

Then... Some swordsman usurps that... By claiming a title that he never earned.

Not cool.

There is nothing wrong with someone who follows the Paladin code who isn't a Paladin, nothing at all wrong, to follow an ideal.

To unjustly claim that ideal? Negative.


UnArcaneElection wrote:

^This reminds me of why it is messed up that Lawful Good Paladins AND Chaotic Evil Antipaladins are allowed, but not any other flavor of Holy Warrior base class (and Warpriest doesn't count). If you fall to Lawful Evil, you can't become an Antipaladin(*), whereas if you fall to Chaotic Evil, Devils aren't going to give you a workable deal.

(*)Pending release of the Insinuator archetype -- let'ssee if this does what is needed.

You are aware... Originally... And for many years... There was just the Paladin.

No Anti-Paladin, no Paladin of Freedom, just the Paladin. Lawful Good or bust.


I see someone without the class paladin claiming to be a paladin to be something like someone claiming to be a musketeer. (In the sense of the fictional 3 musketeers - soldiers who fight for the common people)

People recognize and understand who the musketeers are, and there is a certain degree of fame, respect, and responsibility attached to that title. However, if pressed, possibly both a claimed musketeer and a claimed paladin might admit that "no, I guess I'm not a REAL musketeer yet, but one day I hope to be!"

Gaining the right to wear the title of Paladin I think might come from doing brave things to help people, and not so much from being able to perform all the class skills of a Paladin class.

Other analogies which I think are less accurate might be 'cowboy' or 'blacksmith.' The difference here being that I feel one has to earn the right to be called a Paladin, and that being referred to as a Paladin in turn earns the claimed Paladin some measure of fame, good will, etc. No one cares as much if you call yourself a cowboy or a blacksmith or an adventurer.

This is all purely my opinion and not necessarily supported by Pathfinder texts, but I thought I would join in on a rather lively and interesting discussion


ColossalApostle wrote:

{. . .}

People recognize and understand who the musketeers are, and there is a certain degree of fame, respect, and responsibility attached to that title. However, if pressed, possibly both a claimed musketeer and a claimed paladin might admit that "no, I guess I'm not a REAL musketeer yet, but one day I hope to be!"
{. . .}

Excellent point. Other variations:

"I am training to be a Paladin."
"I aspire to be a Paladin, and strive to my utmost to uphold their code."


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HWalsh wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

^This reminds me of why it is messed up that Lawful Good Paladins AND Chaotic Evil Antipaladins are allowed, but not any other flavor of Holy Warrior base class (and Warpriest doesn't count). If you fall to Lawful Evil, you can't become an Antipaladin(*), whereas if you fall to Chaotic Evil, Devils aren't going to give you a workable deal.

(*)Pending release of the Insinuator archetype -- let'ssee if this does what is needed.

You are aware... Originally... And for many years... There was just the Paladin.

No Anti-Paladin, no Paladin of Freedom, just the Paladin. Lawful Good or bust.

Yes, because everything old is better than everything new. That's why we're all playing first edition.

Shadow Lodge

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HWalsh wrote:

Under your logic we should just get rid of the Paladin class, there is no point. Oh, anyone can call themselves a Paladin? Then anyone can lie. Anyone can do evil and retain their abilities. Anyone is failible.

Paladins, the class, AND the title, aren't.

Paladins are not infallable. They can fall. They do fall. They atone and get their powers back. They can even occasionally instantaneously atone.

HWalsh wrote:

A non-Paladin calling himself a Paladin, getting the same social benefit from the work that real Paladins have to do, that is wrong. Not just wrong, it is borderline on an abomination for not only modern Paladins but also Paladins of the past....

To weaken the title, in this fashion, simply to get a rise out of longtime fans... Not really a cool thing to do.

This isn't about getting a rise out of paladin fans. Like I said, I honestly consider myself a paladin fan. I just see paladins differently. Don't take it personally.

HWalsh wrote:

I guess anyone who dual wields now is a rogue right?

Anyone who makes an unarmed attack is a monk huh?

No. Of course not.

If some person who took Improved Unarmed combat who was a Sorcerer ran around calling himself a Monk, the Monk orders, in-game, would be twitched off about it.

Just Improved Unarmed Strike? Not cool. Improved Unarmed Strike, Deflect Arrows, meditates daily, and spent five years in his backstory training in a monastery? No problem, no matter what class he has. A sorcerer-class "monk" who sees their spells as an extension of their ki would be pretty cool, actually. Like a qinggong with more versatility.

Also I'm not sure when TWF became the iconic feature of the rogue. The rangers are the ones who get it as bonus feats. And I'm personally happy to call just about any sneaky little bugger a rogue if that's what they want.

HWalsh wrote:

You have one group who trains, endlessly, to unlock those special powers. Who makes a lifelong pledge to a god, a goddess, or an ideal and agrees to a certain set of limitations. They gain the social benefit of having their word, their honor, unquestioned.

Then... Some swordsman usurps that... By claiming a title that he never earned.

That's the thing. We're supposing the swordsman has earned that title, has trained extensively, made a lifelong pledge of faith, and agreeing to the same set of limitations. He just for whatever reason didn't come out of it with the paladin class. That's basically the entire summary of Tectorman and Neil's scenarios.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

"I guess anyone who dual wields now is a rogue right?
Anyone who makes an unarmed attack is a monk huh?"

Um...yes?

Your first example is just confusing on every conceivable level. Dual wielding, while a common enough fighting style for rogues, is neither a class feature nor especially iconic or evocative of the class. I'd wager the number of rogues who call themselves that in-universe are *vanishingly* low. 'Rogue' is easily the most generic class in the whole game, except perhaps Fighter, covering an utterly *vast* array of concepts. Combine all that with the *myriad* of classes who can easily cover the rogue's mechanical abilities and niche, and...yes, absolutely, there's basically an infinity of characters who would absolutely be justified in calling themselves Rogues without having a single rogue level.

You are aware that there is no rule in Pathfinder which states Monk levels can only be taken by characters who have trained in some formal order? And that many monk builds use weapons and *not* unarmed strikes? And that there's no reason a non-monk character cannot have a backstory in which they trained their special abilities in a monastic setting, whether that be a focus on Unarmed Combat with a Brawler or Unarmed Fighter, or a monastic approach to training magic? I mean, I've put together a build for Aang before, and while his class was Sorcerer (and might now be Kineticist with Air as his primary element if I did it now), he'd be *very* surprised if someone tried to tell him he wasn't a monk. Contrariwise, a build for Ty Lee would very likely have Monk levels, but she almost certainly wouldn't call herself that.

"Do you do this for titles?" one of my paladins might ask yours. "Do you do this for social benefits? Do you do this for your reputation? Do you do this to hold yourself above and apart, and call yourself special? I thought the point was to do the right thing--not because it is easy, not because it is popular, not because it benefits one's self, but simply because it is the right thing. So far as I have seen, this young man has comported himself with honor and compassion; he has righted many wrongs, and stands prepared to give his life in defense of all that is good. If he has not been blessed by the heavens in the precise way that we have, what significance is that? As you yourself said, a Paladin is what you are, not what you do."


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
HWalsh wrote:


Under your logic we should just get rid of the Paladin class, there is no point.

That.. doesn't make very much sense. Because people might roleplay characters in a way you dislike an entire class is "pointless"?

No, it just means that a lot of people have a lot more flexible in roleplaying than you do and don't see mechanical constructs as necessary components of a roleplaying element.

Quote:
If some person who took Improved Unarmed combat who was a Sorcerer ran around calling himself a Monk, the Monk orders, in-game, would be twitched off about it.

I doubt it. In fact there's probably a good number of 'monks' in monasteries who don't have a single level in the monk class, because they aren't fighters. Monasteries have a lot more to them, after all.

Quote:
I guess anyone who dual wields now is a rogue right?

I dunno. If I saw a sneaky, agile, lightly armored thief and generically referred to him as a rogue I'd raise an eyebrow if someone freaked out and told me he was actually an investigator or slayer.

Just out of curiosity, what other mechanical constructs are people aware of in your games HWalsh? They can identify what class someone specifically is, what else? Are they aware of d20 roll? Their specific stats? Levels or leveling up?

Silver Crusade

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"Grandmother came to me one night, shortly after I'd started keepin' an eye on the young'uns of the Society. Kids these days, always rushing off, not taking the time to respect their elders or the other folks around them. They mean good, but they just need guidance. Easy for 'em to fall off the path, get misled or get into some sort of mischief.

So she said to me 'You're gonna have to do a bit more, dear. I know you're tired and old and were looking forward to a nice quiet retirement in the local tengu community, giving out your wisdom, but the world needs you, and this Society you're with needs you to be the voice of moderation and not be afraid to give kids that get out of line a swift wallop with a quarterstaff to set them straight. It ain't gonna be easy, but I have faith in you. You've been doing the job already, don't be afraid of it.' "

And that is how this, my tengu cleric of Andoletta went to paladin of same at L2

Scarab Sages

HWalsh do you also get angry about people claiming to be rangers but arent actually the ranger class? I mean heavens forbid if someone liked nature, and hated something.

The idea of 'classes' I think Gives us a baseline of what to expect from a charector. Nothing else.The game would be way more complicated if everyone just got to as they leveled pick and choose what abilities they wanted.


Weirdo wrote:
snip

Couple of problems... A Paladin who falls isn't a Paladin again until they atone. Thus a Paladin, a real one, is assumed by anyone they interact with to be a paragon of virtue.

Literally - If a Paladin is found in the town square standing over a dead body and says, "He was a vile cultist who attacked me."

Then he was. No questions asked.

-----

If a non-paladin wants to "play at" being a Paladin and get similar social benefits then they need the mechanics to back it up.

If they don't have levels in Paladin then they had at least better have a level in the Chevalier PrC.


TheNine wrote:

HWalsh do you also get angry about people claiming to be rangers but arent actually the ranger class? I mean heavens forbid if someone liked nature, and hated something.

The idea of 'classes' I think Gives us a baseline of what to expect from a charector. Nothing else.The game would be way more complicated if everyone just got to as they leveled pick and choose what abilities they wanted.

People in hades want ice water. We can't always have what we want.

Classes represent what you are formally trained to be. Which is why they are part of the starting ages. Pathfinder doesn't just treat classes as collections of abilities.


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HWalsh wrote:


People in hades want ice water. We can't always have what we want.

If you're a dm, I feel sorry for the party members around your table.

NO you may NOT roleplay that way - DO YOU THINK THIS IS A GAME?!?!?


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Paladin: I finally found you, pretender. How dare you use the sacred name 'paladin' to help people, save lives, and slay demons - when the orb of paladinness would not even glow in your presence? Well, no more! Today, I shall end your charity and kindness with my own blade! For desecrating my order's sacred name with your illegally represented good acts!

Somehow, I can't imagine any paladin saying something like this. I know that if I was playing a pally, and saw a magus or something helping impoverished people while calling himself a paladin, I would be overjoyed at finding a fellow comrade rather than being peeved that he's claiming some undeserved privilidge.

I mean, did you become a paladin to actually do good deeds and help fight evil, or did you do it so that you could parade your status around and sneer at people that do the same things you do, but just can't make the Sacred Avenger glow?


UnArcaneElection wrote:

Other variations:

"I am training to be a Paladin."
"I aspire to be a Paladin, and strive to my utmost to uphold their code."

Your two examples and mine I think work well for a young/naive character striving to be a paladin even without the divine powers that they are famous for. Maybe hoping that if they try very hard to help people, the god of that code may grant them the power to help others even more effectively.

Interesting (if somewhat tragic) roleplaying idea - a claimed paladin who is good at bashing evil with a sword, but just wants to be able to heal the injured. This character often attempts to lay on hands when someone is sick or mortally wounded and cries out for their god to allow them to help those in need.

Some examples for claimed paladins who are a bit older and wiser than our earlier examples:

"I'm just as much a paladin as anyone who can conjure flashy lights."

"Well maybe I'm not a real paladin in that sense, but what makes a real paladin anyway?"


ColossalApostle wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

Other variations:

"I am training to be a Paladin."
"I aspire to be a Paladin, and strive to my utmost to uphold their code."

Your two examples and mine I think work well for a young/naive character striving to be a paladin even without the divine powers that they are famous for. Maybe hoping that if they try very hard to help people, the god of that code may grant them the power to help others even more effectively.

Interesting (if somewhat tragic) roleplaying idea - a claimed paladin who is good at bashing evil with a sword, but just wants to be able to heal the injured. This character often attempts to lay on hands when someone is sick or mortally wounded and cries out for their god to allow them to help those in need.

Some examples for claimed paladins who are a bit older and wiser than our earlier examples:

"I'm just as much a paladin as anyone who can conjure flashy lights."

"Well maybe I'm not a real paladin in that sense, but what makes a real paladin anyway?"

Wouldn't one of the gods say "That mortal is doing it right!" and just grant the poor guy paladin abilities? I'm only half serious with this question, but in a world with PF style gods, would there even be fighters who lived by the paladin code and didn't end up as paladins?

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

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Hitdice wrote:


Wouldn't one of the gods say "That mortal is doing it right!" and just grant the poor guy paladin abilities? I'm only half serious with this question, but in a world with PF style gods, would there even be fighters who lived by the paladin code and didn't end up as paladins?

If I was, say, a 7 Cha fighter I wouldn't want the mechanical abilities of a paladin because I wouldn't be able to use most of them.


Hitdice wrote:
ColossalApostle wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

Other variations:

"I am training to be a Paladin."
"I aspire to be a Paladin, and strive to my utmost to uphold their code."

Your two examples and mine I think work well for a young/naive character striving to be a paladin even without the divine powers that they are famous for. Maybe hoping that if they try very hard to help people, the god of that code may grant them the power to help others even more effectively.

Interesting (if somewhat tragic) roleplaying idea - a claimed paladin who is good at bashing evil with a sword, but just wants to be able to heal the injured. This character often attempts to lay on hands when someone is sick or mortally wounded and cries out for their god to allow them to help those in need.

Some examples for claimed paladins who are a bit older and wiser than our earlier examples:

"I'm just as much a paladin as anyone who can conjure flashy lights."

"Well maybe I'm not a real paladin in that sense, but what makes a real paladin anyway?"

Wouldn't one of the gods say "That mortal is doing it right!" and just grant the poor guy paladin abilities? I'm only half serious with this question, but in a world with PF style gods, would there even be fighters who lived by the paladin code and didn't end up as paladins?

That might indeed be something that could happen. Someone grants you additional power for all your trouble; I wouldn't bank on it, but it could happen. Of course, doing good is supposed to be its own reward.

As for the whole "classes are what you are meant to be" -- that doesn't quite work when one can use a myriad of classes, archetypes and abilities to simulate a variety of different ideas. There is no One True Way. Your idea of paladins, HWalsh, works for you and your game. Not so much for other games.


Hitdice wrote:
Wouldn't one of the gods say "That mortal is doing it right!" and just grant the poor guy paladin abilities? I'm only half serious with this question, but in a world with PF style gods, would there even be fighters who lived by the paladin code and didn't end up as paladins?

Yeah perhaps this fluff makes the most sense for a character who takes a 1 level dip as something else and goes on to paladin classes. I just like the dramatic scene it creates.

To get even more off-topic, there are good gods with great power in PF, but evil still exists. In most settings, I think it could be possible to avoid a god's notice even if you're doing your very best to follow their code and promote the causes they care about.

Reasons for this might be some kind of curse or perhaps that god is legitimately busy fighting a great war against evil in the next country over.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Last I checked, a paladin's class doesn't change when they need atonement, so if the class that's listed on the sheet is the defining trait, then fallen paladins are very definitely still paladins.

You are aware that there are rogues who never steal, barbarians without tribal roots (and even ones who never froth at the mouth), Bards who don't strum lutes, rangers who don't have any particular reverence for nature, and even wizards who have never set foot in a grand academy of magic, right?

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