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D&D 3E
Paladins with attitude. 
4th-Mar-2005 09:58 am
bitch
Wizards just put up their article on paladins with class not too long ago, and I found it made some interesting points, namely, 'set a good example, but don't cram your morals down others' throats. I'm aiming for a lawful good aasimar paladin that has attitude--a good sense of humor, a likable character, maybe even someone that wouldn't look like a paladin during the first ten minutes you met her. She's an NPC, and the younger sister of one of the PCs, at that, who happens to be a chaotic neutral aasimar psion.

With that in mind, does anyone have advice on how to make a paladin unique and not so burdensome/annoying, while still keeping to the paladin's code? How do you make a paladin truly likeable? Is there a way to design a paladin that would not clash with a chaotic neutral alignment so...well, easily? How do you make the lawful good character stray from the cliche?
Comments 
4th-Mar-2005 06:09 pm (UTC)
make a paladin with a strong personal moral code, but an acceptance of other's beliefs. one dedicated to following the path she's on but not forcing that path upon others. one who's chosen to lead by example, or just one from a faith that's not interested in making converts. and give the character a personality. just because you beleive in strict divisions between right and wrong doesn't mean you aren't willing to debate the subject. some of the most religious people i know enjoy religious debate. just because you have a strong ethical code doesn't mean you're a severe nany ot topunish the world. you can still be fun loving, love life, have fun, and fight for what you believe to be good, pure and true.
4th-Mar-2005 06:29 pm (UTC)
Would a paladin that accepts another's beliefs simply accept people are different and try to give the chaotic neutral person distance, or would they go further with that and believe that part of being a moral person is to encourage the morals of others, even if they conflict? Would a paladin look the other way, or would they just simply come to terms with the chaotic neutral character that chooses to save his own butt before giving that cure potion to the critically wounded lawful good wizard being beaten into by the nearest creature?
4th-Mar-2005 06:21 pm (UTC)
I'm playing a lawful good priest now, and I've tried to make him less preachy and more leading by example. For example, He will always got heal the other party members, even taking attacks of opportunity to do so.

last adventure, I got our neutral thief to change his alignment to neutral good! I was very happy. we were tracking this vampire,a nd it was headed right for his home village (it jsut worked out that way, the dm didn't plan it). So we had this long talk about how what we do affects others, and how is getting powerfull now and he can either be a common theif or he can stand up against those that would harm the defenseless. He realized that he had to fight this evil thing, and that all the other monsters and stuff we had been fighting were going to kill OTHER people's families.

It was pretty cool.

I think the best thing is for a Pladin or Cleric to lead by example. and talk to characters about WHY they should do something not just tell them to "do it because it's GOOD".
4th-Mar-2005 06:25 pm (UTC)
What do you do when someone is in danger, but you obviously know that attempting to help them will not only cost your life, but there's a very, very high likelihood you'll fail and they'll get devoured anyway? Do you believe that the LG character would watch the innocent die if they knew trying to save them would throw their life away? Is there really a difference in the actions of a LG cleric and a LG paladin?

This is something that I've contemplated/debated for months, so I'm just curious what other peoples' opinions on it are, to broaden my own horizons. I'm seriously contemplating buying AEG's book Good, since the book Evil was great reading material.
4th-Mar-2005 06:30 pm (UTC)
well, I would think that sacrificing yourself so that someone else could live would be exactly what a paladin would do. Now, if I was a DM and one of my paladin's (or even any good character) saw, say a way more powerfull creature attacking an innocent person and went to fight it, knowing they were very likely going to die, I would let the inoocent person get away somehow.

And I don't think a lawfull good character would see that as throwing there life away. i think they would see that as the POINT of their life, sort of the ultimate expression of what they are about...

4th-Mar-2005 06:36 pm (UTC)
But what if the creature ended up killing the innocent and the paladin? I wholly agree that a paladin would exchange his or her life for an innocent's life, but what if trying to save them just meant the death of both the innocent and the paladin? Would the paladin watch the innocent die or would the paladin let both he and the innocent die trying to save the innocent?

I've always wondered about this scenario. It's not one, as DM, that I would do to a PC, because that's railroading their character into death in my opinion, but the hypothetical issues behind the scenario is one I've always tried to address, especially in an NPC paladin.
4th-Mar-2005 06:47 pm (UTC)
I don't think they would hesitate or regret their decision. Above all else, a paladin a holy WARRIOR. his life is defined by battle - that's his calling, his gift.

You know, now that I think about it, I bet you could make a good argument for Buffy the Vampire Slayer being a good example of Paladin.

or maybe a firefighter would be a good example too. When there is a building on fire, with a good chance of killing him, and children trapped inside - he goes in without hesitation. He's cautious, and he's trained, but he does the heroic thing and puts his life on the line.

I just don't think a Paladin could stand by and watch an innocent die because they were Afraid of dying.

And, mechanics wise, odds are pretty darn good that someone is going to raise them from the dead f they hear about there sacrifice.
(Deleted comment)
4th-Mar-2005 11:48 pm (UTC)
I suppose I should read others' comments before responding. ;)
5th-Mar-2005 02:04 am (UTC)
Ah yes, the good old "Lawful Stupid" moniker.

But here's the thing. Characters (including or especially Paladins) do not think in terms of hit points, CR, and attack bonus. If he sees a vampire or a demon or a blackguard or a dragon or whatever in the process of murdering an innocent, and there's even a chance to save that innocent, I figure the average Paladin has to go. What do I mean by "even a chance?" I mean, if you're on the far side of an immense chasm and the demon is about to swallow the villager whole, you just can't get there in time and there's nothing you can do. Haunted by failure, etc. But if you're on the other side of the street in Sigil and a Pit Fiend is about to light a child on fire, you have to step in. Overwhelming odds and no hope of success is what a Paladin is ALL ABOUT. And remember: God is on your side. Of COURSE a mortal hasn't a prayer against an elder dragon, but giving up and going home is what mercenaries do. Not heroes. A paladin goes in even though he knows he might die, because he knows no one else has the courage to do it ... and generally, through the grace of god, he prevails. And if he doesn't, well maybe he distracted it long enough for the innocent to escape.

More later, maybe.
5th-Mar-2005 02:11 am (UTC)
That's always been one of my biggest things, is that the paladin doesn't know the CR of that monster. The paladin, with a 1% chance of success--would he go in there?

I say yes, but I love to hear those that think it's stupid and say "no," just because I try to keep an open mind with things.
5th-Mar-2005 04:39 am (UTC)
It depends on the paladin would strike me as the real answer:> Either works.
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5th-Mar-2005 04:53 pm (UTC)
"Good of the many vs. the good of the few" is an argument that's especially handy in justifying all sorts of atrocities. (NOTE: Adventure hook. Self-described Paladin is engaged in morally dubious acts such as ... umm ... burning a plague-infested village to the ground, to steal an idea from Warcraft III. How do the PCs respond?) Saying "My life is important and must be saved so that I can save others" is not a very heroic or paladin-y statement, in my opinion. It kinda smacks of cowardice.

Now, that's not to say that the Paladin has to rush headlong. He can be as cunning and canny and crafty as you like. He can get help. He can let someone else lead. He can use stealth and, depending on the particular Paladin code, deception. But "I might die" is not enough reason not to take immediate action.
(Deleted comment)
6th-Mar-2005 09:21 pm (UTC)
Nope. You're a heretic and an unbeliever. REPENT OR DIE!
5th-Mar-2005 09:21 pm (UTC)
There's an interesting point made here. If a village was infested by a plague, would the paladin burn the village to the ground? That sounds like more of a lawful neutral act. Would the paladin get the plague himself while staying in the village and trying to cure the disease? Would the paladin just offer prayer for this village if he thought he could not help them? Would the paladin consider the plague spreading across the continent, or would good say that it's not right to burn all these people?
4th-Mar-2005 11:47 pm (UTC)
In the book of exalted deeds they talk about this dilemma. For instance, the LG paladin will not refuse to help someone in trouble, but they won't rush headlong into danger. Perhaps they'd realize the stupidity of killing the monster At That Moment, and come back later with help. If the monster was close to the paladin in CR I think he or she would definitely help the victim right then and there, though.
4th-Mar-2005 06:24 pm (UTC)
I have played, and played with, lots of likable paladins.

I think the question is, what do you consider burdensome? Having a player in the group that plays a paladin puts limits on the rest of the players, and I don't believe there's any way around that. The code of behavior is very specific about associations with certain types of people, and that's that. Pallies just don't work in non-heroic groups.

Beyond that though, the possibilities are endless. Have you ever met a very religious person who was cool, and fun to hang around? There you go. Just because a paladin is a holy warrior doesn't mean he has to have nothing else to talk about. He also doesn't need to proselytize at the drop of a hat, or lecture everyone in the area. In fact, given that his mission is martial rather than social, he might not preach at all. Sort of an, "I'm just here to kill the enemies of God" sort of Paladin.

This is a good approach to take with just about any character, not just a paladin. I always try to ask myself what my character does, or likes, or thinks about when he's not adventuring.
4th-Mar-2005 06:27 pm (UTC)
Do you think that paladins can parttake in actions that might be considered sinful in moderation in the roleplaying aspects of their lives? A good example would be if a paladin would have an ale with the dwarf in the group.
4th-Mar-2005 06:31 pm (UTC)
And where's the sin there?

1) In a medieval or pseudo-medieval setting, most drinks served at table were alcoholic - for one thing, the alcohol helped to kill microbes and whatnot from the water that might make you sick.

2) Very few faiths condemn alcohol out-of-hand. It's usually drunkenness that gets the Sin Stick. Check with your DM, or if you are the DM, decide in advance what normal social activities are forbidden to your paladins and priests before character generation.

In my time as both player and GM, I have had paladins of faiths that required chasteness, no alcohol, no eating of meat, etc, and others that allowed marriage, or even that required the use of mind-altering substances.
4th-Mar-2005 06:32 pm (UTC)
you have to think that the setting is basically medievil europe. Having an ale is not really a bad thing. Now getting drunk? that's something else.
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4th-Mar-2005 09:42 pm (UTC)
That's...weird. Do they still get their paladin powers, like their spells, during that one month, or are they for all intended purposes, a temporary and free fighter?
5th-Mar-2005 12:30 pm (UTC)
Hell with Ilmater they're all about sacrificing themselves and suffering on the behalf of others, I'd want a vacation too!
4th-Mar-2005 07:20 pm (UTC)
We have a 10th level character in the group. 5 levels of rogue, and 5 levels of Paladin. The character started at level 5 with all rogue levels and was already divinly inspired. He has throwing daggers and knives and was a gypsy, with gambling and is presently going through withdrawel. He flirts and hits on every female around. A very likeable character...... except that he's also a paladin of kelimvor (Forgotten realms)
5th-Mar-2005 09:23 pm (UTC)
Was this character allowed to practice in the rogue skills that could be considered wrong (in most scenarios), such as lock picking? Or did they just practice the rogue skills that all alignments are okay with, like tumbling and such?
4th-Mar-2005 11:49 pm (UTC)
The last paladin I designed had the "reptilian" template from SAVAGE SPECIES. The character hook was that he'd been sent through time from the distant, pre-human, pre-elf, pre-Age-of-Mammals world.

Most of his world is long forgotten, remote legends even for elven bards. The once proud Troglos clan is now the primitive "troglodytes."

He's appalled by it all, but he's in search of a gold or silver dragon who would let him join the dragon's clan. It's what his people do.

And he's a paladin. He has a code of good and law, which he follows with devotion, but, you know, you can't expect these little furball mammals to have the same sense of right, or to follow the same discipline. They're warm-blooded, emotional, illogical.

It would be a fun character to play. He'd be friendly, but his condescending attitude would provide some room for character growth and development.
5th-Mar-2005 01:42 am (UTC)
I don't have much time to respond (heading home from work soon), so I didn't read the other responses, and I appologize if I repeat something.

I actually just went through the same thing. My new character, Jessica, is a human paladin of Nobanion, LG god of lions, nobility, etc. Since our world is not exactly the Forgotten Realms, I was able to take the model of Nobanion and develop it and Jessica together, and I found that that made her into a very unique paladin.

Jessica has a sharp tongue and a fiery temper. Her group, the Order of the Golden Claw, are referred to among themselves as Lions and Lionesses more often than paladins. She's more wild than your typical 'stuffy' paladin and may see more free.

Because of that, I had to be careful to make sure that she stayed lawful. One way I did that was to sit down and write out the tenets of her Order. I took ideas from various other paladin edicts, but adapted them to fit an order modeled after a pack of noble lions. I had a great time doing it and it has really allowed me to flesh out a paladin (and a deity) in such a way as to make them extremely unique, so much so that I still don't think the other party members have yet figured out that she is a paladin!

Hope this helps - basically, my suggestion is to start with the deity. I know it sounds kind of backwards, but if you put together a fun deity, a creative organization and a fun personality for your paladin, you'll get a great character.
5th-Mar-2005 09:24 pm (UTC)
This is a good point, working backward. I actually already have gods set up for my campaign, and I've been thinking which god would work best to make a likeable paladin out of this assimar paladin that's supposed to be the sister of one of the PCs. At first, I thought she would be likeable being from the god of healing, since people of healing are about healing others constantly, but then I thought, what about the god of mischief?
5th-Mar-2005 03:17 am (UTC)
I read the article about Rogues with Class and it was a great help. I don't know much about Pal because no one I know played one. :) I love those articles though
5th-Mar-2005 03:18 am (UTC)
The druid one was really good. The druid and paladin ones are the only ones I've read so far.
5th-Mar-2005 12:46 pm (UTC)
They're all worth it, but most of them list the same tips over and over. If you wear heavy armor keep a set of light for napping in. Some saves are good, some saves are bad (until they do the monks). If you use a sword always keep a morningstar handy and always bring along a dagger, always.
5th-Mar-2005 04:35 pm (UTC)
In a nutshell: the whole "zero-tolerance" thing should only apply to those that are obscenely and unattonably evil, and to acts of evil by those around you. For anything else, there's no reason NOT to be likeable.
5th-Mar-2005 05:20 pm (UTC)
Okay, I talked a little bit about the courage vs. stupidity issue, but I never got around to talking about playing a likable Paladin.

The last Paladin I played was named Kaylan Greenfield. He was a Dalelander paladin of Chauntea, the goddess of green growing things and fertility. More to the point, he was a farmer-turned-Paladin with the most clichéd of backgrounds - farm burned down, wife and daughters murdered, now an adventurer. The catch was that he was pushing 50 and never formally trained or inducted into anything. He didn't have a Paladin code, per se. But.

* No boozing, because Kaylan is an alcoholic. One day he got drunk and hit his wife. He hasn't touched alcohol since. (He does smoke a pipe).
* No lying, because he's really, really bad at it. He can try, but he'll fail.
* No sex, because he's still in mourning for his wife.
* No special prohibition against gambling, but he doesn't have any money, so why would he?

So, Kaylan was the party's father figure - because he was the only one in the party who had been a father. He was likable, he wasn't preachy, and the most he did when somebody engaged in behaviors he didn't approve of was shake his head and sigh and move on. Basically, I tried to play him as close to Neutral Good (Chauntea's alignment) as I could without losing the Lawfulness. So for himself he is Lawful - he's disciplined, he is orderly, he's law-abiding. But lying and cheating and boozing and whoring and whatnot behavior in his comrades wasn't about to trigger a sermon - that's their choice.

Kaylan went so far as to interact civilly with a Pit Fiend - he's a big believer in second chances and evil is as evil does. The Pit Fiend in question never showed any evidence he was a bad chap, despite the stench of brimstone and blood that followed him everywhere, and helped the party out on a few occasions, so Kay was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt (of course the demon was manipulating the party to his own ends, but Int-10 Kay wasn't the one to figure that out).

Anyway, the point of all that is that the Paladin becomes insufferable when he holds the rest of the party to the same standards he holds himself. The things that make a paladin annoying are the same things that make religious folks in real life annoying - proseltyzing, feeling or acting superior to the "heathens," and being intolerant. If he's quietly devout, if he's self-sacrificing, if he's kind even to those who disagree with him ... if he does, in fact, lead by example, then who's not going to like him? ... or her.
5th-Mar-2005 07:21 pm (UTC)
I think sometimes people forget what Lawful Good can mean. Lawful means obeying the rules, and unless the Paladin has been duly sanctioned by the authorities, he's not allowed to arrest people or kick in doors and cause trouble like that. Good means more than just smiting evil, it means protecting people, helping people and - at least to my mind - showing tolerance to others, within reason. If you want to play a religious zealot, look at LN or even LE, and therefore not a Paladin.
5th-Mar-2005 09:27 pm (UTC)
Who sets the rules? The gods? The overall concept of good? If a paladin worships a god that is chaotic good, and some of their rules are chaotic, are they still lawful by abiding by that god's rules?
6th-Mar-2005 03:17 pm (UTC)
From what I remember, generally gods don't like worshippers that far different from their own alignment - a CG god would only really encourage worshippers that were NG, CG, or CN; a Paladin's way of thinking may actually be offensive to that sort of god. I know there are exceptions, such as Sune in Forgotten Realms, but they are very few.
And to my mind, a Paladin could easily view the laws of the land, unless they were evil, as binding. Without laws, society falls into chaos and the innocent suffer. A Paladin has no more right to break those laws than anyone else.
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