An Impassioned Plea: Paladins - Respect Tradition


Prerelease Discussion

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stigand wrote:
I like the 5e Paladin Oath of Vengeance. No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Yep, 5e Paladin oaths are great. No reason only LG gods should have holy champions to go forth and kick a$$ for the Lord!


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seekerofshadowlight wrote:
stigand wrote:
I like the 5e Paladin Oath of Vengeance. No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!
Yep, 5e Paladin oaths are great. No reason only LG gods should have holy champions to go forth and kick a$$ for the Lord!

They have holy champions. They just are not paladins but different holy champions.


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So like, if Lancelot hadn't gone and done the Lancelot sh*t and fallen then this thread wouldn't exist because I'm pretty sure he's the baseline for how the class was written.

The idea is you have a class whose power comes from ideology, and the narrative device and theme of the character is that they could lose this power.

I'm open to all alignments being enforced through specific codes to function as archetypes included in the core book. Solves everything and gives everyone what they want.

Still a fine show for our first paladin thread.
Presumably first and not only..... o.0


Browman wrote:


As I said, there should be different archetypes for different philosophies/alignments/codes. One of those archetypes in the core book should clearly be a very traditional lawful good Paladin. I just don't see why we can't have that and other options baked into one class.

Please, remember I've talked about alternatives to alignment mechanics. Ones that should be analyzed by themselves.

But let just say: it's not Lawful Good who is special to other alignments. The Paladin is special to us :)
Voss wrote:
Sure, rangers also get spells. Whether they're magic user and/or Druid spells, or specific priest pheres, depends on the edition. Sometimes they also get saddled with animal companions, other times they just stab Giants in the face extra hard.

Okay, I was not talking about such mechanical things. These have nothing to do with my discussion here.

Also, of Lancelot:
According to Legends & Lore (AD&D 2e), sir Lancelot lost his paladinhood, and never was (or will be) able to get it back again. He's a Fighter, now.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So those who are so vehement about Paladins remaining LG and haven't answered this question, please do so:

If Paladin remained a class but lost all the 'special powers', but retained the LG requirement, would you still play it?


Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


So those who are so vehement about Paladins remaining LG and haven't answered this question, please do so:

If Paladin remained a class but lost all the 'special powers', but retained the LG requirement, would you still play it?

Okay, I was going to drop the discussion, but, as you have asked:

I, in no way, need or want the paladin to be objectively superior, inferior, or in any way unbalanced when compared to any other class.
However, due to his status, s/he should have unique abilities related to this concept. What exactly those abilities are, well, it's another matter entirely.


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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


So those who are so vehement about Paladins remaining LG and haven't answered this question, please do so:

If Paladin remained a class but lost all the 'special powers', but retained the LG requirement, would you still play it?

Assuming it's an otherwise viable class, absolutely. I don't play Paladins for Smite or Divine Grace or Divine Bond or Lay on Hands... I play them more or less for the code.

Dark Archive

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I'm of the opinion that alignment itself should be scrapped outright.

If alignment must be retained, then I believe paladins should be required to be on the lawful or good axes, but not necessarily both.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Okay, so we agree that the concept of a character of paragon and virtue is a desired goal, and the class trinkets as they currently stand are superfluous.

Boiling it down, a character that is Oathbound (Paladin - LG) could be equally Oathbound(Myrmidon - LN) or Oathbound (Paragon - NG) or Oathbound (Liberator - CG) and all would have their oaths/paths to follow, all would have a niche, and all could benefit from their own particular belief paths, then?


you know, they could make the paladin must be good aligned but you had to chose 1 of three things
the base of the paladin would not change presuming from path1e with the exception of divine bond, it would now only go to your mount( always thought the weapon part was iffy) and detect evil

but these 3 things alter smite evil, and divine bound
law does double on CE as to what it would do against evil and the mount gets resolute on top of the celestial template it gets now

neutral : get to chose between law and chaos and as usual once this choice has been made it can not be changed

chaos: smite evil does double on LE than it does for plain evil, and the mount gets entropic simple template on top of celetial

detect evil: same thing, you can detect evil x amound of rounds to see if evil, you end to detect if its certain evil that you are against 1 round sooner

edit: was ninja'd... oh well time to go play tomb raider...


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RDM42 wrote:
seekerofshadowlight wrote:
stigand wrote:
I like the 5e Paladin Oath of Vengeance. No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!
Yep, 5e Paladin oaths are great. No reason only LG gods should have holy champions to go forth and kick a$$ for the Lord!
They have holy champions. They just are not paladins but different holy champions.

A cleric is not a holy Champion. There is simply zero reason to keep the outdated idea of a paladin.


seekerofshadowlight wrote:
RDM42 wrote:
seekerofshadowlight wrote:
stigand wrote:
I like the 5e Paladin Oath of Vengeance. No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!
Yep, 5e Paladin oaths are great. No reason only LG gods should have holy champions to go forth and kick a$$ for the Lord!
They have holy champions. They just are not paladins but different holy champions.
A cleric is not a holy Champion. There is simply zero reason to keep the outdated idea of a paladin.

this and the warpriest

neither are holy warriors

to be a holy warrior you would have to be on a crusade like the silver or was it shining and the mendev crusades

or be somewhere else attached to an army backed by one or more faiths

a cleric, a warpriest and a paladin walk into a bar, does not make holy warriors... nor even a good joke


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Steelfiredragon wrote:
seekerofshadowlight wrote:
RDM42 wrote:
seekerofshadowlight wrote:
stigand wrote:
I like the 5e Paladin Oath of Vengeance. No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!
Yep, 5e Paladin oaths are great. No reason only LG gods should have holy champions to go forth and kick a$$ for the Lord!
They have holy champions. They just are not paladins but different holy champions.
A cleric is not a holy Champion. There is simply zero reason to keep the outdated idea of a paladin.

this and the warpriest

neither are holy warriors

to be a holy warrior you would have to be on a crusade like the silver or was it shining and the mendev crusades

or be somewhere else attached to an army backed by one or more faiths

a cleric, a warpriest and a paladin walk into a bar, does not make holy warriors... nor even a good joke

We will disagree as I have seen many non-LG paladins in play


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Personally, I don't have an issue with non-LG paladins, really some of my best buds are pallies!


yeah, got get with my Brother Jessie,and go hit those Union dogs up where it counts and go find a few trains to rob. going to a bar on the way back, anyone want something?


Whiskey, Blackjack and hookers. In no order


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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


Okay, so we agree that the concept of a character of paragon and virtue is a desired goal, and the class trinkets as they currently stand are superfluous.

Boiling it down, a character that is Oathbound (Paladin - LG) could be equally Oathbound(Myrmidon - LN) or Oathbound (Paragon - NG) or Oathbound (Liberator - CG) and all would have their oaths/paths to follow, all would have a niche, and all could benefit from their own particular belief paths, then?

This so much


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the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
This is not an argument for changing the Paladin; it's an argument for DMs not being jerks.

But as you can see from HWalsh repeated [ad nauseum] that alignment is a shackle meant to contain the massive and awesome power of the paladin so is it strange that people with that point of view think it's there duty to test the paladin and make sure he's not getting the power for free?

The alignment and falling encourage DM's being a jerk in this way IMO as the DM can arbitrarily declare any action as evil and you fall: this means even non-jerky disagreements of what alignment an action is can result in a fall let alone a DM that's out to engineer a fall.


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HWalsh wrote:
The Paladin doesn't need to change just because someone wants their powers without paying the price.

You say without paying the Price, I say that the Price should Indeed be the Code of Conduct and an Alignment Restriction to Only Good. You Say the whole Sacred Cow about wanting the Power w/out paying the Price But I've Already proven in another thread, and other people have said here that that CAN'T Be the Case because of Antipaladin having those exact same powers you cry out that noone else should Have or opposing powers(their Mercies, their Auras, having Divine Grace by another name etc.). If you allow for the Antipaladin and the Tyrant, why would you possibly not allow a CG to Counter the LE, which the LG Paladin Can't do in Every Scenario...

There's honestly Just No Understanding You.

HWalsh wrote:

That's it.

The thing is the canard hasn't been exploded. We see people stating that they want a Paladin, that isn't Lawful Good, BUT they're putting riders.

It must have smite evil.
It must have Divine Grace...

This is people who want to be able to play a Starknife shooting star paladin of Desna. This is 100% people wanting the powers. They don't care about being a Paladin, they want the class to just be a framework for the powers.

You Also talk about the Shooting Star Feat, yes I understand that's a Thing in 1E, there's a Good possibility if they make a CG Paladin in 2E that they WON'T Make that Feat alongside it..... And To Be Honest, I DON'T Give a Flying Fudge About that Feat, I don't even know that the real name of it is, just that it keeps being brought up around CG Pallies.... There's Also the Fact that People Can Easily Disallow the Combination At Their Tables.

As for Divine Grace and Smite Evil, Antipaladin's Again HAVE Divine Grace and Smite Good!


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Ya know guys 5e does just fine with non-LG paladins. That does not mean they don't have codes as each oath has its own code, that simply means there is more than a single type.


Steelfiredragon wrote:

neither are holy warriors

to be a holy warrior you would have to be on a crusade like the silver or was it shining and the mendev crusades
or be somewhere else attached to an army backed by one or more faiths

I couldn't care less about these Paladin arguments, but by these criteria, Warpriests are holy warriors.

Their own description says they make up the core of most faiths' martial forces.
They have archetypes for crusading and leading armies.
There's even one just for the Mendev Crusade/Worldwound called the Proclaimer.
You could even be a Good-aligned Champion of the Faith, and emulate being a Paladin with your Smite.

A side tangent, but right now there's multiple ways to gain or emulate a few Paladin abilities without actually being one.

Warpriests don't necessarily have to do these things, but Paladins aren't any more required to crusade either; only oppose Evil. There's no requirement to be in or lead an army. Players' Paladins don't even need to follow a deity. Technically neither do Clerics, Inquisitors, or Warpriests, though.


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Igwilly wrote:
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


So those who are so vehement about Paladins remaining LG and haven't answered this question, please do so:

If Paladin remained a class but lost all the 'special powers', but retained the LG requirement, would you still play it?

Okay, I was going to drop the discussion, but, as you have asked:

I, in no way, need or want the paladin to be objectively superior, inferior, or in any way unbalanced when compared to any other class.
However, due to his status, s/he should have unique abilities related to this concept. What exactly those abilities are, well, it's another matter entirely.

Okay, what if there was another class, call it the Champion, the Warpriest, Core Rulebook Class Ability Set #8, what-have-you, that had the overall same chassis as the Paladin (similar to the way the Ranger does in P1E with his full BAB and 4/9 spellcasting, just divine-themed rather than nature-themed), and had class abilities that are as worth the XP to get to whichever level grants those abilities as the Paladin’s (i.e., not the Gray Paladin)?

knightnday wrote:

So I'm confused. Do we keep paladins the same because of "the lore"/tradition or because people want those powers without paying some nebulous price?

If I am remembering correctly, those suggesting that paladins evolve and expand to cover other alignments have suggested that they have codes to restrict/guide them and even different powers. No one is asking for something for nothing.

Alternate alignment paladins work. I've played them and I've GMed them for well over 30 years. It hasn't brought about the End of All Gaming or Removed The Sacred Lore. Gygax's ghost hasn't haunted me.

Franky says relax.

*bolding mine*

Oh, I’ll raise my hand to that.

Paladin
Alignment: any. Code of conduct: none.

And then put in a sidebar saying that in Golarion, Paladins have to be LG and adhere to this or that code of conduct, be human, have the right ability scores, whatever.

Can’t happen soon enough. I do, however, disagree with the characterization of that as “wanting something for nothing”. Sure at first level, it’s something for nothing, but so is the first level of Wizard or Rogue or Barbarian. You’re at 0 XP; of course you have something for nothing. After that, you’re earning it. You’re earning your second level Paladin abilities the same way the Monk PC is earning his second level Monk abilities and the same way the Cleric PC is earning his second level Cleric abilities.

As for how he’s behaving while he’s earning those abilities, that’s 100% a separate issue. If the concept of the Paladin is truly a matter of behavior independent of mechanical representation, then Paladin the concept not only has nothing to do with any class, it can’t. What you can do is what you can do. That’s a class. What you do with what you can do is where being a Paladin comes in.

Let’s look at Steve Rogers. No, not Captain America. I’m talking about the scrawny little three twigs of a boy who tried to fight off a bully with a trash can lid and who leapt onto what he thought was an active grenade to shield his fellows who, in the meantime, were running away. What can he do? Probably only one level in Commoner with the worst physical ability scores you can roll. What does he do with what he can do? Be a Paladin. Class and mechanical representation had nothing to do with it.

Or one of my favorite Christmas movie characters, George Bailey. Scarificing of his own dreams, time, money, and effort time and time again to stay in Bedford Falls to run the Building & Loan because the poor need an alternative to the miserly Mr. Potter. What can he do? Probably a combination of levels in Commoner and Expert. What does he do with what he can do? Represent the one of the best examples of sacrifice and service there is.

If Paladin is supposed to be an unwavering example of righteousness and good, then by definition it can’t be tied to a class, any class, not even one that shares its name. To do so is to take good and define it, limit it, make it a resource to be tapped, and generally just pervert the very idea of good.


Tectorman wrote:


Or one of my favorite Christmas movie characters, George Bailey. Scarificing of his own dreams, time, money, and effort time and time again to stay in Bedford Falls to run the Building & Loan because the poor need an alternative to the miserly Mr. Potter. What can he do? Probably a combination of levels in Commoner and Expert. What does he do with what he can do? Represent the one of the best examples of sacrifice and service there is.

George Bailey is clearly CG, though; any LG character looking at the world where he doesn't exist would notice the increased level of overall prosperity there and conclude it was the better deal.


the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
Tectorman wrote:


Or one of my favorite Christmas movie characters, George Bailey. Scarificing of his own dreams, time, money, and effort time and time again to stay in Bedford Falls to run the Building & Loan because the poor need an alternative to the miserly Mr. Potter. What can he do? Probably a combination of levels in Commoner and Expert. What does he do with what he can do? Represent the one of the best examples of sacrifice and service there is.
George Bailey is clearly CG, though; any LG character looking at the world where he doesn't exist would notice the increased level of overall prosperity there and conclude it was the better deal.

yeah and at what cost?


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Oh man, can this please become a thread about an ethical analysis of It's a Wonderful Life?


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I think the best option is to have a highly martial 1/4 divine caster class that can be any alignment, and have the LG version be called a Paladin.

Worst case, you have to ban any alternate alignments at your table. Best case, people who want to play a religiously devoted warrior aren't stuck with LG or playing a battle cleric.

If that isn't good enough, then Paladin REALLY should be a PrC. It fits the bill pretty tightly for a hyper focused class that has strict prerequisites. (Being Lawful Good and called to serve) Toss in some basic weapons and armor proficiencies and we've got a good solid PrC.

Then again, Paladin could easily just be a Fighter variant.

Either way, if there isn't a non-LG paladin-like class in PF2 and a player at my table wants to play one, I'm going to homebrew one.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well, let's be honest, in a financial sense the community was doing 'ok' regardless of George's input, but at the cost of the collective sense of community in his absence.

Therefore it's a matter of whether we want to bring this to the Gordon Gecko/Abadaran school of thought or the more holistic Erastilian 'Support your community'.

There, we not only got an ethical consideration, but we've danced on the head of the guideline pin.


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Quick question for the "Paladins *must* be LG" people:

When "respecting legitimate authority" and "doing the right thing" end up at odds, which do you default to as a Paladin?

(I'm not trolling or trying to derail - There is a right answer, and I'm curious if you would pick it.)


Neo2151 wrote:

Quick question for the "Paladins *must* be LG" people:

When "respecting legitimate authority" and "doing the right thing" end up at odds, which do you default to as a Paladin?

(I'm not trolling or trying to derail - There is a right answer, and I'm curious if you would pick it.)

I'm not one of those people!

Do the right thing. Legitimate authority can still err.


Neo2151 wrote:
When "respecting legitimate authority" and "doing the right thing" end up at odds, which do you default to as a Paladin?

"Legitimate" is the weasel word here. If "respecting the authority" requires me to not do the right thing, then that authority must not be legitimate.

Of course "what is the right thing" is similarly ambiguous.


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"Old man yells at cloud"


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Athaleon wrote:

I'm not one of those people!

Do the right thing. Legitimate authority can still err.

Legitimate authority can indeed still err! You're right about that!

But it seems your paladins have been NG, not LG, and fail to live up to their code. ;)

PossibleCabbage wrote:

"Legitimate" is the weasel word here. If "respecting the authority" requires me to not do the right thing, then that authority must not be legitimate.

Of course "what is the right thing" is similarly ambiguous.

Consider real-world criminal justice. Sometimes, because the system isn't perfect, innocent people get convicted of crimes they didn't commit.

If the Paladin refuses to respect the legitimate authority of the fair trial process that ended in the unjust result, then again, they're being NG, not LG.

The LG Paladin joins the Innocence Project and works to get the innocent person's conviction overturned.
The NG person sidesteps the law and breaks the innocent person out of prison because the law failed to do the right thing.
The CG person breaks everyone else out too, because no one should be in shackles and who gave the state/country/kingdom the authority anyway?


no neo
think the CG person would bribe and the CN would break everyone else out

while the neutral guy would just bring beer


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Neo2151 wrote:


The LG Paladin joins the Innocence Project and works to get the innocent person's conviction overturned.
The NG person sidesteps the law and breaks the innocent person out of prison because the law failed to do the right thing.
The CG person breaks everyone else out too, because no one should be in shackles and who gave the state/country/kingdom the authority anyway?

I would respectfully submit that point 1 is actually more Neutral Good than Lawful Good -- if the system is properly lawful then it will be right all the time.

I would respectfully submit that point 2 is actually more Chaotic Neutral, than good, because there's no heed for the consenquences.

And... I would respectfully submit that point 3 is actually more Chaotic Evil, because a Chaotic Good person could see depriving someone of their freedom as a punishment an appropriate sentence for the most heinous of crimes.


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Neo2151 wrote:

Quick question for the "Paladins *must* be LG" people:

When "respecting legitimate authority" and "doing the right thing" end up at odds, which do you default to as a Paladin?

(I'm not trolling or trying to derail - There is a right answer, and I'm curious if you would pick it.)

There is not a right answer. It depends on the paladin, how close to the Paladin the legitimate authority is and what exactly the right thing is.

Not all Paladins are, nor should they be, required to make the exact same choice in the exact same circumstances. There is room for a spectrum of choices and for all of them to be sufficiently right that the Paladin isn't penalised for that choice. The greatest problem with LG paladins isn't alignment or the code it's people playing word games.


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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
if the system is properly lawful then it will be right all the time.

Nope. If this were true, there would be no Lawful Neutral or Lawful Evil.

Lawfulness does not equal goodliness. The LG character simply believes that lawfulness is the necessary path one must take to get to goodliness.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
seekerofshadowlight wrote:
A cleric is not a holy Champion.

Well, apart from the code they'll probably follow out of free will anyway, they basically can do everything the Paladin can, only better. They heal better, they fight better, they cast better, they channel energy better.

If I was a LG god and had to pick between a Cleric and a Paladin whom to choose as my holy champion, the pally would better go looking for another job.

Last I heard, the church of Asmodeus still takes applications.

Shadow Lodge

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I've given up at this point on getting more variety in paladin ideology out of official Paizo material.

But let's please not go backwards by preventing paladins from multiclassing.


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There's a saying over at the Giant in the Playground forums,known as Grod's Law: "You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use."

Given that we have almost been able to use paladin threads as an alternative energy source for years now, just copy-pasting the "old" code across without any further clarification will continue to qualify as "annoying to use".

(I say "old" code, rather than "original", because this is only the 3.X version, not the one to which the Ghost of Gygax has its spiritual essence tied.)

Dark Archive

I'll say it again, I hope they make god specific paladin codes part of core book. God specific codes tend to be more flexible than the core book code and they are also more flavorful


If you make deity specific code it should be ore like a menu. “Pick one from column a, two from b and another from ‘c’ so it could be customized.


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Igwilly wrote:


No one is being forced to play a paladin.

No, but paladins force other people at the table to beheave in certain ways. Because they lose their class abilities otherwise.


Yes, other characters have to not act like evil douches. That’s it.


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RDM42 wrote:
Yes, other characters have to not act like evil douches. That’s it.

Have you played/GMed Strange Aeons?

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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Folks... let's take a breath here. We get that people are passionate about paladin, and we have an entire blog scheduled to look at the class.

I don't want to spoil it just yet, so please give us some time. I promise that we have looked into this deeply and I think we've come up with a pretty great solution.


gustavo iglesias wrote:
RDM42 wrote:
Yes, other characters have to not act like evil douches. That’s it.
Have you played/GMed Strange Aeons?

Not yet. Your post has me curious please elbaborate.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Folks... let's take a breath here. We get that people are passionate about paladin, and we have an entire blog scheduled to look at the class.

I don't want to spoil it just yet, so please give us some time. I promise that we hazve looked into this deeply and I think we've come up with a pretty great solution.

*Holds breath in hope Paladins can be any alignment and are just renamed Warpriests*

Shadow Lodge

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The Thing From Another World wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
RDM42 wrote:
Yes, other characters have to not act like evil douches. That’s it.
Have you played/GMed Strange Aeons?
Not yet. Your post has me curious please elbaborate.

To avoid spoilers:

In SA and many other Paizo APs (Crimson Throne also comes to mind) there is an expectation the PCs will be cooperating with evil allies and/or engaging in morally grey activities to forward the plot. Not doing so either makes things immensely more difficult for the party, loses them a useful or necessary ally, and/or details much of the plot.

As Paizo do not seem to be fans of black and white world morality outside of rare occasions (even Wrath had you making alliances and cooperative deals with the occasional demon), a Paladin with their restrictions makes many APs much more difficult to run as written.


DM Alistair wrote:


*Holds breath in hope Paladins can be any alignment and are just renamed Warpriests*

If that's the case, what would you want done with the existing Warpriest class ?

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