Chewing on Champions


Advice

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I'm going to go ahead and lock this one down until the morning so moderation can take a look. Too much wheel spinning, circular debates, and rude comments. Take the night off folks and consider your posting behavior.

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So, now that the adults cleaned up the playpin, LET'S GET BACK ON THE CHAMP TRAIN! :P Personally, I would like to think about what sort of Focus powers Neutral axis Champions could have. We know "defenders"? have Lay on Hands, and (I don't even know, teh ebil 0nes) have Touch of Corruption, so what's the middle ground? ALSO, will Tyrants (LE Champions, they were called Tyrants in base PF so I'm going with that until told otherwise) also have Retributive Strike? Or will they have their own exclusive reaction? STUFF AND THINGS AND THINGS AND STUFF!


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Unless the power is dedicated to "maintaining the balance", we might need a variety of different neutral Champions depending on what they focus on other than alignment. Champions of Gozreh, Nethys, and Pharasma would all be very different from one another.


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I feel like we're going to get the Good, Evil, Law, and Chaos ones before we get the true neutral one. For the Neutral one, we're going to need to figure out whether we're doing neutrality as a principled philosophical stance, or (as it seems more common for the neutral deities) "I am interested in a thing without being overly concerned about the ethics of it."

It would be no great loss if we had only 8 (or even 6, I can do without LN and CN) champions.


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Creating a Champion of Balance would be really hard to come up with a proper seeming code/anathema or so it would seem to me. It absolutely makes no sense to have a Champion of The Meh version of neutrality of I just do what I feel like at the moment... the doesn't care that much form. While the concept of someone working for maintaining balance makes sense to me, it would be really hard to define. I've seen it portrayed as just moody, I'll be good for a while and then I'll be evil for a while to make up for it. That doesn't make sense to me. That doesn't strike me as a personality that would have the passion and drive that I see as needing to fuel one to rise to the standard of being a Champion.

The closest I can come up with would be 'defending' the right to exist and struggle for both/all sides. Keeping the kingdom's army from successfully gathering per their plan to wipe out the orcs to the north when they plan a pre-emeptive strike. However, the champion and their forcesses will willingly ally themselves with the kingdom, when the orcs over-populate their own lands, and begin to hoard and flow into the kingdoms. Again however, how does this sort of a overally goal equate to the edicts of an individual champion?

With this sort of balance, or key neutrality... perhaps the champion would focus on buffing allies... but allies might be bound by a form of anathema during their boost keeping them from destroying their enemy, only driving them back? Part of the Neutral Champions anathema might be willingly continuing to support allies who don't constrain themselves while allied? Rather than redemption, they seek that parties conflict a bit, but then retreat for another day. Nod move forward and wipe out their enemies for good/finality. Rather than the Glimpse of Redemption and 'consider the evil they have done' reaction. Perhaps a Neutral Champion 's might force the attacker to make it non-lethal or be subject to the damage that was reduced, unless the target of the attacker is was helpless, in which case the attacker must choose to stop the attack or take the full damage of their own attack as well.

Potential Anathema springboard for a neutral Champion: (eternal struggle and balance)
killing a helpless or surrendered/defeated opponent - (They should live to fight another day)
Killing the last of a group of foes (they should be allowed to live to attempt to seek allies in the future)
Allying yourself with the stronger force, save to slow a force whose goals obviously contravene the first two premises, if their goals have a chance of occurring.
Remaining allied to a faction when it has clearly defeated its foe, and is now the oppressor.
Refusing to come to the aid/ally with a group, just because it once was an oppressor.

Someone who may well be your ally now, but you understand that that being true now, does not mean they will stay that way forever. Their interests will likely not always be their interests.

If all things have a right to exist... does that extend to undead for instance? Or would it be ok to have a neutral champion of balance, that still considers undeath to be by nature, unbalanced?


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I don't see anybody actually buying into that premise of hyper-Alignment conscious Neutrality for Neutralities sake.
It seems to be assumed as potential by some, seemingly trying to 'mirror' LG Paladin-hood etc,
but I don't think it even accomplishes that, Paladins are not really Good for Goodness sake IMHO (nor Evil counterparts etc),
and even people seeming to assume it is obligatory approach don't seem to come up with anything that satisfies themselves.

People have repeatedly acknowledged finding coherence in distinct concepts which may be Neutral Champions,
Nature Champion, Soul Cycle Champions, maybe some obscure Arcane/Occult POV Championed by Nethys etc.
It's not at all clear those would or should share some base class as Champion does for Good Alignments,
even if they formally do if deemed convenient, they probably would have major divergences mechanically and thematically.


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Probably the simplest way to do "true neutral champions" would be to have a Champion subclass devoted to a specific neutral deity be written up in some book which highlights that god, including the full anathema.

So you could have a Champion of Gozreh and a Champion of Nethys, without having much overlap between them since those gods really only have alignment in common.

A lot of deities could use subclasses or class archetypes which are specific to a deity - heritor knights for Iomedae, Darechasers for Kurgess, Scar Seekers for Vildeis, etc.


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I don't see it as unique to any single god, there is lots of deities or forces appropriate to "Nature Champion", or "Soul Cycle Champion" even if that involves Pharasma getting the "big job". Sure, there can be Deity-specific Feats (which could be in chain with de facto Prestige dynamic) but I don't see why those concepts are especially more exclusive than Liberator/Paladin/etc.

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Removed a post and its reply. Don't tease or mock other community members, even if they are not present in the discussion.


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Quandary wrote:
I don't see it as unique to any single god, there is lots of deities or forces appropriate to "Nature Champion", or "Soul Cycle Champion" even if that involves Pharasma getting the "big job". Sure, there can be Deity-specific Feats (which could be in chain with de facto Prestige dynamic) but I don't see why those concepts are especially more exclusive than Liberator/Paladin/etc.

There certainly could be domain-specific rather than alignment-specific varieties of Champion. Champions of Gozreh and Champions of the Green Faith could then both be subsumed under Champions of Nature.

Shadow Lodge

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David knott 242 wrote:
Unless the power is dedicated to "maintaining the balance",...

From what I understand from James Jacobs' posts, forcefully "maintaining the balance" is a lawful activity, as per the aeon shift to Lawful Neutral.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

Probably the simplest way to do "true neutral champions" would be to have a Champion subclass devoted to a specific neutral deity be written up in some book which highlights that god, including the full anathema.

So you could have a Champion of Gozreh and a Champion of Nethys, without having much overlap between them since those gods really only have alignment in common.

A lot of deities could use subclasses or class archetypes which are specific to a deity - heritor knights for Iomedae, Darechasers for Kurgess, Scar Seekers for Vildeis, etc.

I could see it playing at scales of balance or even somewhat of a "wildcard" mentality (not a perfect example but Two Face could qualify as a True Neutral Champion in a sense).

Someone that adheres to true balance or a universal concept that applies indiscriminately of law/chaos/evil/good. And while that concept might seem like a "law", to me, a Law is something that is based on a "tradition" or something codified via hierarchy. Not someone's personal belief that has extended to an internal set of rules.

Then again, a more strictly codified Ranger that plays to the concept of Nature might also accomplish that.

While a champion of a specific deity might be the easiest solution for a True Neutral Champion, I don't see it as the only way or even a detriment to not follow that route.

Now as far as how that applies to it's abilities, I think there'd have to be some kind of Code to tie the concept too. Otherwise it's just a Fighter.

I would argue the following characters could be argued as True Neutral Champions:

- Death (actual Death with the scythe)
- Two Face (Dark Knight specifically)
- Fox (Angelina Jolie from Wanted)
- The Winchester Brothers (Supernatural)
- Stannis Baratheon (GoT)

Now are all of the above potentially just other classes or entities entirely? Sure.

But all of them have "Codes", all of them adhere to those codes too a fault, even in some cases at the expense of their own lives for that code, and all of them have fought both sides of all spectrums (good/evil/chaos/law).

Now we could debate where they fall, and debate whether those are just "Someone with a code and another class", but I do think the concept is at least interesting enough to entertain as a possibility.

If only because it will put players in a unique mindset, and keep a GM on their toes.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

As far as true neutral Champions, I still very much see Champions as "champions of a deity", so for me the question becomes "what kind of abilities would you expect a martial champion of gods like Pharasma and Gozreh to have?”

That's a bit tricky because those are both very different gods, but I think they are similar in that they are both kind of (apologies to Gozreh) forces of nature. They are universal rules that apply to everyone, sort of.

So thematically speaking, I would be looking at TN Champions to have abilities that punish those who "cheat" in one way or another, or maybe abilities that restore things to their "natural" form. Actually, having the TN Champion have an "antimagic" theme for that reason could work.

...Except of course that Nethys is also TN. Hm. Well, I'd personally probably disbar Nethys from having martial champions in the first place, so there's that. XD


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Maybe instead of just blank antimagic, each TN champion could have specific areas that they are antimagic to: Pharasma's champion could disrupt undead-creating magic, Gozreh's champion could disrupt any magic that lets you control beasts, plants, or elementals (what, that earth elemental I just summoned wasn't happy about it?), and Nethys' champion (who is probably a bard multiclass) could disrupt magic that disrupts other kinds of magic (he/she is a walking anti-anti-magic field).


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Doktor Weasel wrote:
This whole conversation has helped solidify my view that I think the entire approach to Champions is completely backward. The assumption has been to start with an alignment and than assign a role. That's inevitably going to be arbitrary and limiting, and cause all sorts of passionate disagreements that are completely unnecessary. What makes much more sense is to start with the role and than figure out which alignments fit it. So instead of "The Redeemer is the NG Champion", you'd have "The Redeemer is a Champion who can be NG." If I end up playing PF2, I'll probably suggest a house-rule to try to do that. Redeemers would be Any Good, Paladins would probably be LG or NG (maybe Any Good, I'd have to see the final version and confer with the rest of the group. Maybe even LN, but I'm thinking probably not), Liberators would probably stay CG, but I could potentially see including NG and maybe even CN with a slightly different focus. There would probably be a Lawgiver or whatever that covers any Lawful, some kind of chatotic thing, a Tyrant for LE and possibly NE, Antipaladin for CE and possible NE, maybe a Corrupter or something for any evil, ETC. There's a lot of room for multiple types to overlap on alignment. And this way, there might actually be a way for a TN champion not to be absurd, a role based approach can have roles that don't care about any particular form of morality and instead are focused on a task.

This is probably what I'll be doing as well. I really abhor those sorts of restrictions on RP for those wishing for a particular kind of mechanic. I also don't intend to exclusively use PF2 for the Golarian setting, so it's a major pain in the ass if I have to decouple the mechanics from the specifics of that setting. The examples they gave in the Playtest about gave me a headache, as on paper they shouldn't really ahve anything to do at all with alignment but are juuust barely tied up enough into alignment that it's awkward if you completely ignore it. I hate it, I want my freedom fighter to have the mechanics reserved for the LG variant and now that's just going to be a thing I'll have to argue about at every table from now on.

I would argue this is a lot worse, though, with Clerics, whose choice of god gives them spells and weapon proficiencies. There are literally specific named gods who are optimal, which means minmaxing becomes an obstacle for RP again. It also means adapting Clerics to fit your own pantheon a complete nightmare, as not only do you need to come up with specific spells and weapons for your gods but you also need to be a game designer with an intimate understanding of the meta of PF2 to know whether what you gave your gods is balanced or not.

5e, meanwhile, doesn't give a singular f&!% what your Paladin's alignment is so long their behavior is consistent with their order. Your Cleric's god merely has to have a thematically appropriate Domain, so any Good-aligned god is a perfectly valid choice for a healing-focused cleric, any god that's sufficiently warlike can have War Domain clerics, et cetera which makes it much, much easier to fit that on custom pantheons. You can take a glance at Zeus, figure he's got the Tempest Domain, and not worry one lick about game balance because all that's already been done for you.


While I haven't had a chance to watch ANY of the 2e streams - I can say that MY PERSONAL PREFERENCE is that there be oaths available for a wide variety of things, eventually. Ideally, the Champion would be able to be a Champion of an alignment, of a Deity, or of an Order. This is the type of thing that can lead to a huge variety of characters from a singular versatile class. And of course, this is also the type of thing that can be spread about through many publications over many years, with the CRB containing just some basics.


As I see it, there would not BE an oath for every distinct alignment combination - but just the 4 axis ends (Good, Evil, Law, Chaos). A Champion of Law can just as easily be LG, LN, or LE - and each would take actions for their oath in very different ways. Regarding things like the TN Champion, I believe that's where oats to a deity or to an order would come in. Pharasma could very easily have her Champions - but they would not be sworn to an alignment ideal, they'd be sworn to her ideals.


Moving the discussion on Champions from the what classes do you want thread to this thread to make sure we didn't get too off topic on the old thread. I will restate my position here for ease of continuing said discussion.

Firstly, the name for neutral class would be Guardian. LN sub-class would be Gray Paladin. N sub-class would be Arbiter. CN sub-class would be Renegade. The name for the evil class would be conquerer. LE sub-class would be Tyrant. NE sub-class would be Defiler. CE sub-class would be Antipaladin.

Currently it seems the intent of the champion class is to add 6 more subclasses to the class. One for each alignment which is currently not represented in the CRB.

I think taking that route would be at best a missed opportunity and at worst an error that causes a lot of headache for future players and GM's.

Keeping the same core class means skills, HP and presumably proficiency will all remain the same across each class. Whether you are a CG liberator or a LE Tyrant (assuming that would be the name as it's the name of the LE Paladin in first edition) you'll have the same HP and skills as your opposite. This would make all champion subclasses feel similar. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing is up to you but right off the bat you are limiting future creativity. Assuming the sub-classes don't have all those core stats the same, then why even put them in the same umbrella in the first place as that could cause even more confusion?

Of course each sub-class in this case has a unique special ability. I expect non-good alignment sub-classes to also do the same. A problem arises with class feats however. Currently we only know 2 champion feats. Blade of Justice and Divine Reflexes. Blade of Justice is unique to the Paladin sub-class however divine reflexes can be taken by a LG, NG or, CG champion currently and when other alignment sub-classes are added they will gain access to the feat as well. Divine Reflexes being able to be taken by a LN, LE, CE or CN champion isn't a big deal. Mechanically it fits them each and the word divine isn't limited to good guys. However if there is another feat which has no limitations on which subclass can take it but is obviously meant for good aligned people, it could be used by CE Antipaladins. Since all 3 current champion sub-classes are linked by Good, I can safely bet there will be a good ability that isn't sub class orientated.

Finally, the page clutter. If the options for non-good champions are made in an Advanced Players Guide style book then abilities to create a full class will be presented alongside 5 other sub-classes info and may be presented alongside more if in said book they add more good champion abilities. Each book after would also see options for sub-classes paired alongside each other making people flip through extra pages when building a champion.

All this would be alleviated by simply having a neutral class with a LN, N and CN sub-class and an evil class with a LE, NE and CE class. I can't even see problems with this approach either. It would even keep class archetypes and dedications for the 3 classes simple as well.

TL:DR
Split the champion into 3 classes. One for good, one for neutal and, one for evil instead of having all 9 alignments under the same class. Do this because it will give you design freedom, less page flipping, no flavor fails and will make dedications and class archetypes simpler while not causing any problems I can see besides having 2 come up with 2 extra names but we already have names.


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I touched on some of this on the other thread, but my main issue with that is that I feel you're thinking too small. Why stop at 9 subclasses? We had all kinds of paladins in PF1, and that was before the alignment floodgates opened (also, I imagine some of the PF1 cavalier stuff is going to wander championwards). For instance, like I say on the previous page, there could be causes that stretch to cover multiple alignments (antipaladins should rightfully be CE, and directly oppose LG paladins, but some kind of "Any evil" despoiler cause would be cool to have handy).

To be completely clear, I also think there can be more than one cause selectable by an alignment as well. There's multiple ways to play LG; why not have more than one cause to reflect those differences? An Asmodean dedicated to wiping out every untidy trace of Rovagug is just as LE as a Zun-Kothon that gleefully tortures prisoners and malcontents, although they'd select very different champion abilities.

Also, as I said on the other thread, I can absolutely see Evil champions picking up obviously good intended class feats. Evil champions have minio-, I mean alllies, too. And unlike their good fellow champions, they'd probably charge for their succor. Abadarans would charge interest as well. Actually the good Abadarans probably would too, so maybe not the best example.

Liberty's Edge

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We could easily wind up with more than the base 9 types of Champion, and I think having that happen is both good and interesting.

AnimatedPaper wrote:
Abadarans would charge interest as well. Actually the good Abadarans probably would too, so maybe not the best example.

This, however, is probably untrue most of the time. Abadar gets flanderized quite a bit as solely the 'god of money', which he is, but he's more than that. Primarily, in many ways, he's the God of Civilization. Which is to say the God of societies and how they function.

Abadarans are thus actually very unlikely to charge those who are directly protecting civilization with them (and what else is a Paladin of Abadar doing?) simply because that's poor tactics for keeping society going. Now, strangers or people not directly contributing are a different matter, but charging close allies is stupid, and Abadar is not stupid.

Abadar is LN for many reasons, including not indulging in charity, but aiding his allies is not precisely charity, y'know?


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My biggest concern for the champion right now is how narrowly defined its core class features are. In PF1 there are a lot of ways to play a paladin, heavily armored defenders of the weak, crusaders who focus entirely on destroying evil with giant weapons, divinely inspired archers and so and and so forth. Right now the Champion only really does one of those things. If you don't want to use heavy armor? Pick another class. If you don't want to be focused on defending your allies? Pick another class.

PF2's class design seems to heavily emphasize modularity and adaptability and so this iteration of the Champion feels really strange to me because it is comparatively very narrowly defined, even moreso than the PF1 paladin which also suffered from a similar problem.

To be blunt, the Champion feels like an archetype of another class, replacing generalized class features with much more specific ones. This would be as if they had designed the PF2 wizard as a dedicated illusionist that didn't support any other kind of wizardry instead of building a more general wizard and allowing you to create an illusionist out of it, or if they had made one of the weapon-specific fighter archetypes the default for the PF2 fighter instead of a unique specialist. It's a very strange design decision.

I'm worried that a lot of people who played these different types of paladins are going to feel alienated by PF2, because essentially there is no analog to the PF1 paladin in PF2 now unless your particular paladin of choice lines up exactly with the very specific paladin PF2 provides you.

Obviously as is PF2 doesn't provide good support for a lot of old PF1 classes, but the Paladin is kind of a mainstay of Dungeons and Dragons too.

Presuming the subclasses get new features, we might end up in a scenario where the best way to build one of these Paladins would be to take the Evil variant and just change it back to being Good.


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AnimatedPaper wrote:

I touched on some of this on the other thread, but my main issue with that is that I feel you're thinking too small. Why stop at 9 subclasses? We had all kinds of paladins in PF1, and that was before the alignment floodgates opened (also, I imagine some of the PF1 cavalier stuff is going to wander championwards). For instance, like I say on the previous page, there could be causes that stretch to cover multiple alignments (antipaladins should rightfully be CE, and directly oppose LG paladins, but some kind of "Any evil" despoiler cause would be cool to have handy).

To be completely clear, I also think there can be more than one cause selectable by an alignment as well. There's multiple ways to play LG; why not have more than one cause to reflect those differences? An Asmodean dedicated to wiping out every untidy trace of Rovagug is just as LE as a Zun-Kothon that gleefully tortures prisoners and malcontents, although they'd select very different champion abilities.

Also, as I said on the other thread, I can absolutely see Evil champions picking up obviously good intended class feats. Evil champions have minio-, I mean alllies, too. And unlike their good fellow champions, they'd probably charge for their succor. Abadarans would charge interest as well. Actually the good Abadarans probably would too, so maybe not the best example.

I like the idea a lot actually and right off the bat I can think of an easy example. You could choose a neutral champion or if split into how I would prefer it an Arbiter and then decide if you want to focus on protecting nature or serving pharasma. Both fit a N champion/Arbiter very well and realistically would be VERY different from each other


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

We could easily wind up with more than the base 9 types of Champion, and I think having that happen is both good and interesting.

AnimatedPaper wrote:
Abadarans would charge interest as well. Actually the good Abadarans probably would too, so maybe not the best example.

This, however, is probably untrue most of the time. Abadar gets flanderized quite a bit as solely the 'god of money', which he is, but he's more than that. Primarily, in many ways, he's the God of Civilization. Which is to say the God of societies and how they function.

Abadarans are thus actually very unlikely to charge those who are directly protecting civilization with them (and what else is a Paladin of Abadar doing?) simply because that's poor tactics for keeping society going. Now, strangers or people not directly contributing are a different matter, but charging close allies is stupid, and Abadar is not stupid.

Abadar is LN for many reasons, including not indulging in charity, but aiding his allies is not precisely charity, y'know?

Yep. Money is not the only way to pay. If they put efforts in doing something to advance Civilization (and Abadar's goals), that can be payment enough. Once I had my players fulfill a request for the Abadar church in Magnimar to pay for an atonement and resurrection (to save someone that was recently transformed into a ghoul, and they were hoping it might work). They didn't have the money, but the request they did was enough to GREATLY improve the church relations with the local Pathfinder lodge.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
We could easily wind up with more than the base 9 types of Champion, and I think having that happen is both good and interesting.

I do really like the idea of "way more than 9 kinds of champions". I'm particularly interested in a "empowered by goodness (etc.) itself, rather than a god" champion flavor for the four corner alignments.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Now, strangers or people not directly contributing are a different matter, but charging close allies is stupid, and Abadar is not stupid.

I agree it would be stupid, and I was joking either way, but I did notice a slight predilection for players of “Lawful Stupid” paladins to pick Abadar as their patron (in the games I played at least; experiences are not universal, etc..).

Make of that what you will.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Abadar gets flanderized quite a bit as solely the 'god of money', which he is, but he's more than that.

FYI, I had no idea what that word meant, and looked it up, thinking it might come from some obscure commentary about Flanders the region of Belgium, but no... The Simpsons. LOL


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swoosh wrote:

[...]Right now the Champion only really does one of those things. If you don't want to use heavy armor? Pick another class. If you don't want to be focused on defending your allies? Pick another class.

PF2's class design seems to heavily emphasize modularity and adaptability and so this iteration of the Champion feels really strange to me because it is comparatively very narrowly defined, even moreso than the PF1 paladin which also suffered from a similar problem.

To be blunt, the Champion feels like an archetype of another class, replacing generalized class features with much more specific ones.[...]

I agree that right now champions rely mainly on similar tricks and tropes and that's not desirable, since as you say we should be able to build archer champions, 2-hander champions, light-armored champions, champions who work in tactically different ways...

Then it hit me, and maybe it's nothing particularly striking, but still: right now we have 3 champions, one for each good alignment. But as you say, they look more like paths. So what if these are actually that?

What I mean is: if we build support for differenk kinds of champions Paizo could actually listen and instead of limiting each alignment to 1 single type they could introduce different LG champions, different NG champions, different CG champions... and we'll see about the neutral and evil ones, but in the meantime we might get champions who work nothing like the ones we have now (or on the the 1st of August actually) - with different names, because as is they've tied these ones to certain mechanics, so a path more similar to 1e paladins will actually be called something else, but at least, lo, variety.

Now that I think of it, the Paizo staff also announced class archetypes, i.e. filters you apply to a class to change its features for something different, didn't they? The champion would be a perfect candidate for CAs that de-emphasize the reliance on armor and/or reaction focus powers.

I could use a type of paladin who tramps around in medium armor and mainly lays on hands and smites like no tomorrow, honestly. If we keep campaigning for it Paizo might listen to us and give us class archetypes to change the champion's shtick, or more and different good-aligned paths.

It'd be nice.

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