Defense of Paladins: feedback please?

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Some of the misconceptions that I am aware of some (but not most) people having are: self-righteously throws fights by using the word "dirty" to refer to "realistic fighting," doesn't care about murderous tyrants as long as they gave themselves legal permission, believes that strategic retreats are always "cowardly," doesn't believe in letting the other people fight when "talking" would be more "right" in a "fighting" game. I would like to challenge some of these, and I'm wondering if anybody else thinks I am on the right track.

Somebody else's article that I love: www.rdinn.com/guild/66/how_to_play_an_ef...


Personal musings: “A paladin’s code of honor is not about throwing fights; it’s about not starting them. If someone is as evil and dangerous as you think they are, then will have no problem throwing the first blow, and if they do not do so, then perhaps they are not as dangerous as you think. How many have been killed in fights that they picked with somebody whom they FALSELY believed would’ve attacked them first, but who in fact had no intention of doing so until he himself was attacked and had to defend himself?


And yet, how many people have killed in self-defense in the same circumstance, when they in fact could’ve simply incapacitated their attacker and learned that his only real crime was stupidity?


More importantly, a paladin learns to pick her battles, but BEFORE the battle actually starts. If you attack something that you know to be dangerous, and then run off without planning to finish the job, then you have put others in danger by angering the enemy you attacked and encouraging them to lash out.


If you plan to help people by deposing a tyrant, and you don’t bother gathering enough allies to ensure that you actually defeat him when you engage him, then the tyrant needs to know that when – not if – he defeats you, his quarrel with you will be finished, and he needs not burn entire villages to the ground looking for where you fled to and who helped you.


If he was not the kind of ruler who would do that after a half-a**ed assassination attempt, then you would not have needed to depose him in the first place, and thus, if you are stupid enough not to bring enough allies to ABSOLUTELY guarantee victory, then you would need him to know that you acted alone and never had a chance worth him getting worried about after you are dead.”


Orc baby dilemma: “Does a paladin kill an "innocent" child that he knows would absolutely become irrevocably, homicidally evil if allowed to live in it’s own society?”


Answer: “If the orc society truly believes that the way the world works is by violence alone, then it is your job to show them that there is a better way; that the real world works by people building each other up instead of tearing each other down. 


That way, even if they choose to continue raising their children for violence, they will know on some level that they chose it INSTEAD of what the real world looks like, of what has allowed every other great civilization to flourish. If, on the other hand, they are as “irrevocably” evil as you claim that they are, then they will absolutely relish proof that even paladins are as bloodthirsty as they are themselves, and will feel completely satisfied that they are correct about the world being as violent as they pretend that it is.”

Another "article" I like: http://www.freethought-forum.com/forum/showthread.php?p=810533#post810533 


Angel (Episode 4x1): “I did get time to think: about us, about the world. Nothing in the world is the way it ought to be. It's harsh, and cruel. But that's why there's us. Champions. It doesn't matter where we come from, what we've done or suffered, or even if we make a difference. We live as though the world was what it should be, to show it what it can be." 


Batman (The Dark Knight): “What were you trying to prove? That deep down, everyone’s as ugly as you? You’re alone.” 

What do you guys think? Am I making sense? Misunderstanding something? Leaving something out? Should I organize this more cohesively?

Founder - but not owner - of Just Say Yes!

Member of LGBT Gamers

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Why there should be the option to use alignment systems:
Show
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

The paladin is a knight with holy powers. It's a character class, it's not a behavior mode. "Knight" is just a job description. All the issues cease upon realizing this, and upon realizing that people can be allowed to play their characters however they want.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

 Should I organize this more cohesively?

probably. Its got a bit of wall of text which results in TLDR. 

Its also written out like an essay, but if its an essay its not really meaty enough to make any awesome points.  Not sure the response you are looking for? The only thing I can give you is "Yes, you now have an opinion on the topic of paladins, and I see it". I'm not really sure the point though. 

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"

Presuming you're discussing 3e Paladins ...

The whole thing with alignment and what the Paladin code does and doesn't allow is so completely, totally, and utterly subjective that there's really no point in discussing it.  How appropriate ANY action is will be determined individually by each person's readings and preferences.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
A paladin living in an orc society. The amount of roleplay in it. 

One of the reasons why I love playing the paladin.  
Presuming you're discussing 3e Paladins ...

The whole thing with alignment and what the Paladin code does and doesn't allow is so completely, totally, and utterly subjective that there's really no point in discussing it.  How appropriate ANY action is will be determined individually by each person's readings and preferences.



This.  Take the Knights Templar during the crusades.  They believed they were God's chosen warriors.  They /believed/ they were essentially paladins.  They swore their vows, much like the vows ones would have expected of a paladin.  They /were/ paladins.

Yet they murdered and massacred with the best of them, acts which we would consider evil.  They didn't and their church didn't consider them to be evil.  Perspective is a powerful thing, and why /alignment/ has no business being part of game mechanics.
Presuming you're discussing 3e Paladins ...

The whole thing with alignment and what the Paladin code does and doesn't allow is so completely, totally, and utterly subjective that there's really no point in discussing it.  How appropriate ANY action is will be determined individually by each person's readings and preferences.



This.  Take the Knights Templar during the crusades.  They believed they were God's chosen warriors.  They /believed/ they were essentially paladins.  They swore their vows, much like the vows ones would have expected of a paladin.  They /were/ paladins.

Yet they murdered and massacred with the best of them, acts which we would consider evil.  They didn't and their church didn't consider them to be evil.  Perspective is a powerful thing, and why /alignment/ has no business being part of game mechanics.



Ah, but if they had both the ability to Detect Evil AND the knowledge that God Himself would cut them off if they killed innocents by neglecting it, wouldn't they have behaved differently?

There is a word for a Lawful Neutral/Evil who THINKS he's Good (Lawful Stupid), and on TV Tropes at least, the Knights Templar seem to be an accepted symbol of Lawful Stupid, not Good.

And couldn't alignment be a part of game mechanics as long as the DM/players just discuss it before hand and come to an understanding?

Founder - but not owner - of Just Say Yes!

Member of LGBT Gamers

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Why there should be the option to use alignment systems:
Show
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

Good game mechanics are concrete and unambiguous.  If you have to have a long discussion, especially one where you're trying to define undefinable abstract terms that philosophers have failed to reach a concensus on for millenia, it's a bad rule.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Presuming you're discussing 3e Paladins ...

The whole thing with alignment and what the Paladin code does and doesn't allow is so completely, totally, and utterly subjective that there's really no point in discussing it.  How appropriate ANY action is will be determined individually by each person's readings and preferences.



This.  Take the Knights Templar during the crusades.  They believed they were God's chosen warriors.  They /believed/ they were essentially paladins.  They swore their vows, much like the vows ones would have expected of a paladin.  They /were/ paladins.

Yet they murdered and massacred with the best of them, acts which we would consider evil.  They didn't and their church didn't consider them to be evil.  Perspective is a powerful thing, and why /alignment/ has no business being part of game mechanics.



It doesn't matter what they or the church bellieved on the subject.  Just how God ultimately judged them.

Anyways, as far as D&D goes?  Yes, alignment, & some mechanical rules for it, most certainly do have business being included.
Because wether or not you like it?  The developers present Good/Evil as physical, tangable forces/effects that'll come into play during games.  

...and then they gave us 4e which removed that stupidity.

Just because some developer some time had an idea, doesn't mean it was a good one.
Good game mechanics are concrete and unambiguous.  If you have to have a long discussion, especially one where you're trying to define undefinable abstract terms that philosophers have failed to reach a concensus on for millenia, it's a bad rule.



I don't know. I think it's good for roleplaying. Where's our over zealous knights?

Good game mechanics are concrete and unambiguous.  If you have to have a long discussion, especially one where you're trying to define undefinable abstract terms that philosophers have failed to reach a concensus on for millenia, it's a bad rule.



I don't know. I think it's good for roleplaying. Where's our over zealous knights?




You don't need alignment for that.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Good game mechanics are concrete and unambiguous.  If you have to have a long discussion, especially one where you're trying to define undefinable abstract terms that philosophers have failed to reach a concensus on for millenia, it's a bad rule.



I don't know. I think it's good for roleplaying. Where's our over zealous knights?




You don't need alignment for that.



Actually, you do. It gives you an idea of what their believes are. Chaotic Evil? They are knights who believe they are superior and they want to wipe out everything that is inferior. 
They just need a reason to kill anything they want and take what they want. 
They Lawful Evil? They can to rule over this kingdom with an iron hand while enjoying the labour that these poor villagers harvest for them. 

Good game mechanics are concrete and unambiguous.  If you have to have a long discussion, especially one where you're trying to define undefinable abstract terms that philosophers have failed to reach a concensus on for millenia, it's a bad rule.



I don't know. I think it's good for roleplaying. Where's our over zealous knights?




You don't need alignment for that.



Actually, you do.




No, you don't.  None of that requires any mechanical representation at all.  You simply decide your character's personality and roleplay it.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Good game mechanics are concrete and unambiguous.  If you have to have a long discussion, especially one where you're trying to define undefinable abstract terms that philosophers have failed to reach a concensus on for millenia, it's a bad rule.



I don't know. I think it's good for roleplaying. Where's our over zealous knights?




You don't need alignment for that.



Actually, you do. It gives you an idea of what their believes are. Chaotic Evil? They are knights who believe they are superior and they want to wipe out everything that is inferior. 
They just need a reason to kill anything they want and take what they want. 
They Lawful Evil? They can to rule over this kingdom with an iron hand while enjoying the labour that these poor villagers harvest for them. 



I still don't see where any of that requires alignment.
Good game mechanics are concrete and unambiguous.  If you have to have a long discussion, especially one where you're trying to define undefinable abstract terms that philosophers have failed to reach a concensus on for millenia, it's a bad rule.



I don't know. I think it's good for roleplaying. Where's our over zealous knights?




You don't need alignment for that.



Actually, you do. It gives you an idea of what their believes are. Chaotic Evil? They are knights who believe they are superior and they want to wipe out everything that is inferior. 
They just need a reason to kill anything they want and take what they want. 
They Lawful Evil? They can to rule over this kingdom with an iron hand while enjoying the labour that these poor villagers harvest for them. 



I still don't see where any of that requires alignment.



Mostly because it doesn't.  Having alignment might make it easier and more cookie-cutter... but then again why are you limiting your creativity to "cookie-cutter"?  I don't play with alignment at all (or rather a very vague sense of alignment where I tell me players they are the "good guys" or "bad guys" depending on campaign) and I've seen good RP as both of those two archetypes.
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Mostly because it doesn't.  Having alignment might make it easier and more cookie-cutter... but then again why are you limiting your creativity to "cookie-cutter"?  I don't play with alignment at all (or rather a very vague sense of alignment where I tell me players they are the "good guys" or "bad guys" depending on campaign) and I've seen good RP as both of those two archetypes.



It has been my experience that alignment impedes RP.  Players look at their sheet and go "Well, I'm (alignment), therefore I must (action)."  They're playing an alignment, not a person, not a personality, not a character.  There aren't words for how lame that is.
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Mostly because it doesn't.  Having alignment might make it easier and more cookie-cutter... but then again why are you limiting your creativity to "cookie-cutter"?  I don't play with alignment at all (or rather a very vague sense of alignment where I tell me players they are the "good guys" or "bad guys" depending on campaign) and I've seen good RP as both of those two archetypes.



It has been my experience that alignment impedes RP.  Players look at their sheet and go "Well, I'm (alignment), therefore I must (action)."  They're playing an alignment, not a person, not a personality, not a character.  There aren't words for how lame that is.



My experience has been the same.  I only rephrased what you said slightly to counter the "but its fun and easy to do it X way" line of argument.
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...and then they gave us 4e which removed that stupidity.



In exchange for a whole boat load of additional stupidity....

 
Just because some developer some time had an idea, doesn't mean it was a good one.



I agree.  And I think that 4e serves as a prime example of this....

But as for Alignment?  Good idea/bad idea/otherwise, when it's there with game related effects - smite evil, al. restrictions for class, detection/protection, etc?  Then it usually needs a few rules attached.
   
...and then they gave us 4e which removed that stupidity.



In exchange for a whole boat load of additional stupidity....

 
Just because some developer some time had an idea, doesn't mean it was a good one.



I agree.  And I think that 4e serves as a prime example of this....

But as for Alignment?  Good idea/bad idea/otherwise, when it's there with game related effects - smite evil, al. restrictions for class, detection/protection, etc?  Then it usually needs a few rules attached.
   




No need to turn an alignment thing into an edition war. 
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
Or, there needs to not be game-related effects like smiting, detection, and class restrictions, especially the last of which, as they are universally bullcrap.
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Alignments always been a part of D&D and it will stay that way. 

Alignments give you a general idea what their personality is like.

A cold-blooded assassin who doesn't care who he kills and how he kills them is NE.

A warrior who enjoys slaughtering the weak and helpless is CE.

A lord who ensalves people and try to abuse his powers within the law is LE.

I roleplay a paladin in 3.5e so.....
Class Restriction: Yes please. Not everybody can be a paladin. They must be pure heart and lawful.
Smite Evil: Detecting and slaying evil is my name and defending the people is my game.
Detect Evil: My seek and destroy.  

The reason why I like paladins, because they are like marines in real life.
The few, the proud, the paladins. 
Alignments always been a part of D&D and it will stay that way. 



Except, you know, now that they aren't, and good riddance.
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Alignments always been a part of D&D and it will stay that way. 



Except, you know, now that they aren't, and good riddance.



That not? Since when? I could of sworn I saw it on the 5e character sheet. 

Alignments always been a part of D&D and it will stay that way. 



Except, you know, now that they aren't, and good riddance.



That not? Since when? I could of sworn I saw it on the 5e character sheet. 




They removed the alignment restriction from the monk (wisely).  There are no alignment mechanics.  No class restrictions, no spell detection crap.  It's like D&D's appendix; still there, but completely useless, and easily removed for the betterment of the body.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Alignments always been a part of D&D and it will stay that way. 



Except, you know, now that they aren't, and good riddance.



That not? Since when? I could of sworn I saw it on the 5e character sheet. 




They removed the alignment restriction from the monk (wisely).  There are no alignment mechanics.  No class restrictions, no spell detection crap.  It's like D&D's appendix; still there, but completely useless, and easily removed for the betterment of the body.



Sweet, now I can make the rogue ninjas from Naruto. 

Isn't choice liberating?
Isn't choice liberating?



Yep.  More choice, more options, more good.
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Isn't choice liberating?



Yep.  More choice, more options, more good.


or evil :P
I think the only class with alignment requirements should be the Paladin.

Other classes should have alignment guidelines:

-The Average Monk is a lawful individual.
-The Typical Druid tries to take a stance of neutrality on matters to establish balance.
-Etc.

That way it is not binding, but it gives a feel of what the class should be.     
 
          
I think the only class with alignment requirements should be the Paladin.

Other classes should have alignment guidelines:

-The Average Monk is a lawful individual.
-The Typical Druid tries to take a stance of neutrality on matters to establish balance.
-Etc.

That way it is not binding, but it gives a feel of what the class should be.     
 
          


Or ignore it entirely and talk about how the average XYZ lives their life completely devoid of alignment.  Then you have an idea of what it is like without training wheels / straight jacket.
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
Oh yes.. the Paladin without alignment restrictions. I have a good back story. He kills his mother, father and elder siblings to hasten his inheritance so that he can afford better equipment. Without pesky things such as morals standing in his way, he is now truly free to show why the word paladin is by very definition a knight who upholds an example of chivalry, honor, righteousness and virtue. As a joke intended to ensure humility in other paladins, the good gods grant him the same abilities as actual paladins... so in terms of game mechanics, he has all the abilities of a real paladin. With such powers, he can really let loose...

The black plague has infected the town? March them into the town of your nemesis and hope he gets infected. Don't worry about getting infected. The funny good gods have made you immune.

Evil undead attacking the farmers of some small little village in the middle of no-where? Excellent! Let them! Since most of these villagers were poor, you've eliminated poverty! The gods are laughing quite well as hilarity ensues.

His noble steed, a blood-red fiendish steed from the bowels of hell he names Charlotte the Harlot, after some lady of ill repute he robbed and trampled in one of his many adventures.

With all the farmers in the land dead, the paladin and Charlotte go through some rough times during a period of famine. With no knowledge of nature, he eats the wrong mushrooms... becomes enlightened... and turns into a kooky chaotic monk based on the merry pranksters of the 60s. His fighting style? The Way of a Thousand Face Palms.

I guess such a paladin would work in a less serious campaign. I'd give him a chainsaw as his holy weapon.


A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
Oh yes.. the Paladin without alignment restrictions. I have a good back story. He kills his mother, father and elder siblings to hasten his inheritance so that he can afford better equipment. Without pesky things such as morals standing in his way, he is now truly free to show why the word paladin is by very definition a knight who upholds an example of chivalry, honor, righteousness and virtue. As a joke intended to ensure humility in other paladins, the good gods grant him the same abilities as actual paladins... so in terms of game mechanics, he has all the abilities of a real paladin. With such powers, he can really let loose...

The black plague has infected the town? March them into the town of your nemesis and hope he gets infected. Don't worry about getting infected. The funny good gods have made you immune.

Evil undead attacking the farmers of some small little village in the middle of no-where? Excellent! Let them! Since most of these villagers were poor, you've eliminated poverty! The gods are laughing quite well as hilarity ensues.

His noble steed, a blood-red fiendish steed from the bowels of hell he names Charlotte the Harlot, after some lady of ill repute he robbed and trampled in one of his many adventures.

With all the farmers in the land dead, the paladin and Charlotte go through some rough times during a period of famine. With no knowledge of nature, he eats the wrong mushrooms... becomes enlightened... and turns into a kooky chaotic monk based on the merry pranksters of the 60s. His fighting style? The Way of a Thousand Face Palms.

I guess such a paladin would work in a less serious campaign. I'd give him a chainsaw as his holy weapon.




I'm trying to find out where any of that falls into alignment restrictions and coming up blank.  Especially since it seems that character is still working within a set of alignments (the good gods playing a prank) and its really the gods that are messed up.

I think, in general, you are confusing "don't use alignment" as "don't worry about making sense".  The two are in no way the same.  You can make very little sense in the box of alignment, and make characters that are very supercilious.  But in the end, you are still forcing yourself to play in a box whose size, shape, color and placement not only confines you by your definition of the box but by other people's definition of the box.
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
Oh yes.. the Paladin without alignment restrictions. I have a good back story. He kills his mother, father and elder siblings to hasten his inheritance so that he can afford better equipment. Without pesky things such as morals standing in his way, he is now truly free to show why the word paladin is by very definition a knight who upholds an example of chivalry, honor, righteousness and virtue. As a joke intended to ensure humility in other paladins, the good gods grant him the same abilities as actual paladins... so in terms of game mechanics, he has all the abilities of a real paladin. With such powers, he can really let loose...

The black plague has infected the town? March them into the town of your nemesis and hope he gets infected. Don't worry about getting infected. The funny good gods have made you immune.

Evil undead attacking the farmers of some small little village in the middle of no-where? Excellent! Let them! Since most of these villagers were poor, you've eliminated poverty! The gods are laughing quite well as hilarity ensues.

His noble steed, a blood-red fiendish steed from the bowels of hell he names Charlotte the Harlot, after some lady of ill repute he robbed and trampled in one of his many adventures.

With all the farmers in the land dead, the paladin and Charlotte go through some rough times during a period of famine. With no knowledge of nature, he eats the wrong mushrooms... becomes enlightened... and turns into a kooky chaotic monk based on the merry pranksters of the 60s. His fighting style? The Way of a Thousand Face Palms.

I guess such a paladin would work in a less serious campaign. I'd give him a chainsaw as his holy weapon.





Best lawful good paladin ever. 

A paladin is just a heavily-armored warrior of a god.  Any god.  No alignment bullcrap needed.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
what the class should be.     
 
          



Of course, what any class should be is going to vary by individual, to say nothing of the fact that any class should be easy to reflavor.
And that still doesn't change the basic thing that alignment is cumbersome, useless, and bad for RP and character concept.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Oh yes.. the Paladin without alignment restrictions. I have a good back story. He kills his mother, father and elder siblings to hasten his inheritance so that he can afford better equipment. Without pesky things such as morals standing in his way, he is now truly free to show why the word paladin is by very definition a knight who upholds an example of chivalry, honor, righteousness and virtue. As a joke intended to ensure humility in other paladins, the good gods grant him the same abilities as actual paladins... so in terms of game mechanics, he has all the abilities of a real paladin. With such powers, he can really let loose...

The black plague has infected the town? March them into the town of your nemesis and hope he gets infected. Don't worry about getting infected. The funny good gods have made you immune.

Evil undead attacking the farmers of some small little village in the middle of no-where? Excellent! Let them! Since most of these villagers were poor, you've eliminated poverty! The gods are laughing quite well as hilarity ensues.

His noble steed, a blood-red fiendish steed from the bowels of hell he names Charlotte the Harlot, after some lady of ill repute he robbed and trampled in one of his many adventures.

With all the farmers in the land dead, the paladin and Charlotte go through some rough times during a period of famine. With no knowledge of nature, he eats the wrong mushrooms... becomes enlightened... and turns into a kooky chaotic monk based on the merry pranksters of the 60s. His fighting style? The Way of a Thousand Face Palms.

I guess such a paladin would work in a less serious campaign. I'd give him a chainsaw as his holy weapon.




I'm trying to find out where any of that falls into alignment restrictions and coming up blank.  Especially since it seems that character is still working within a set of alignments (the good gods playing a prank) and its really the gods that are messed up.

I think, in general, you are confusing "don't use alignment" as "don't worry about making sense".  The two are in no way the same.  You can make very little sense in the box of alignment, and make characters that are very supercilious.  But in the end, you are still forcing yourself to play in a box whose size, shape, color and placement not only confines you by your definition of the box but by other people's definition of the box.

Can you give me an example of a paladin that isn't honorable and good that isn't as silly?

I assume that proponents of chaotic, or evil (or non-aligned, whatever that means) 'paladins' have something less outrageous in mind, to be fair, but I can't seem to get past the idea that the idea is that the players wanting chaotic or evil paladins merely want to be able to rob a few people between gigs without any 'hassle'.

I want to add that I'm not proposing some sort of magical force that prevents a paladin from doing any number of less than honorable acts, but I think that the flavor of a paladin is an essentiality. More precisely, the essentiality of the concept of a noble warrior is enhanced by the flavor of the paladin's abilities. Nothing is stopping the character from doing major or minor misdeeds, but refraining from them is the essence of the class, like discipline is the essence of the monk.

Once a paladin begins behaving in a less than exemplary way, he/she is no longer in essence a paladin and should stop receiving the 'blessings' and abilities granted to them because of their exceptional qualities. Because they have ceased to be exceptional.

Here is an example of what I mean, in light of this view:
The townsfolk, beset by a tyrant are afraid to stand against him. They outnumber the tyrant's men mightily, but are afraid to act to keep him from a public beheading of all who have stood against him. The townsfolk are afraid and in despair. Enter Paladin.

Drawing his blade, the Paladin calls out his adversary and moves amid the crowd "Take courage, people of Good Town! Sir Palinad has come to your aid!". Seeing the paladin, the townsfolk remember how Sir Palinad came through last year picking their pockets, duping them out of their hard-earned coin and waylaying them in dark alleys. They moan and are not really heartened much. The paladin has lost the ability to inspire courage.

I really do see a box here. Not an inescapable box... but a box with a pretty good lock on it.
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
 Can you give me an example of a paladin that isn't honorable and good that isn't as silly?



Pick something that is obviously culturally morally relativistic and you run with it.  Abortion, roles of women, age of maturity, sadistic situations forcing "Greater Good" problems etc. 

Easy problem question:
1) What is the LG reaction to a noble who wants the paladin to go find his daughter who has run off with some man from the town?  The law of the land states that the daughter is 17 and thus property of her family, the man who eloped with her is guilty of theft.  Both daughter and her man are willing to run away with one another, but the father has not only legal concerns but worries for the safety and sanctity of the daughter.

An example of a paladin who isn't honorable and good?  Paladin of Bane.  I actually am playing as one right this moment.  He is a generally good character, but follows many of the precepts of the god Bane.  He has very little respect for laws in any format.



I assume that proponents of chaotic, or evil (or non-aligned, whatever that means) 'paladins' have something less outrageous in mind, to be fair, but I can't seem to get past the idea that the idea is that the players wanting chaotic or evil paladins merely want to be able to rob a few people between gigs without any 'hassle'.



Because you have had bad experience with bad roleplayers doesn't mean everyone gets training wheels forced on them.


I want to add that I'm not proposing some sort of magical force that prevents a paladin from doing any number of less than honorable acts, but I think that the flavor of a paladin is an essentiality. More precisely, the essentiality of the concept of a noble warrior is enhanced by the flavor of the paladin's abilities. Nothing is stopping the character from doing major or minor misdeeds, but refraining from them is the essence of the class, like discipline is the essence of the monk.

Once a paladin begins behaving in a less than exemplary way, he/she is no longer in essence a paladin and should stop receiving the 'blessings' and abilities granted to them because of their exceptional qualities. Because they have ceased to be exceptional.



Except that means that something is forcing them to not do that as a paladin.  If you say "well, they could always do what they want and lose all their paladin powers" that isn't an acceptable answer.  In a narrative that might be ok, in a game it isn't.


Here is an example of what I mean, in light of this view:
The townsfolk, beset by a tyrant are afraid to stand against him. They outnumber the tyrant's men mightily, but are afraid to act to keep him from a public beheading of all who have stood against him. The townsfolk are afraid and in despair. Enter Paladin.

Drawing his blade, the Paladin calls out his adversary and moves amid the crowd "Take courage, people of Good Town! Sir Palinad has come to your aid!". Seeing the paladin, the townsfolk remember how Sir Palinad came through last year picking their pockets, duping them out of their hard-earned coin and waylaying them in dark alleys. They moan and are not really heartened much. The paladin has lost the ability to inspire courage.

I really do see a box here. Not an inescapable box... but a box with a pretty good lock on it.



That isn't alignment.  There isn't any divine power interfering here.  The townsfolk don't support him because his alignment on his sheet reads "****" as contrasted to anything else.
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Paladin of Asmodeus.
Paladin of Bane.
Paladin of Tiamat.

Need more?
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Paladin of Asmodeus.
Paladin of Bane.
Paladin of Tiamat.

Need more?

I see what you're getting at, but I still have difficulty seeing how a Paladin's peculiar ability set exemplifies any of these. An evil cleric could pick spells and abilities much more in line with being a petitioner of an evil dragon god Tiamat. I just don't see the flavor of the paladin's abilities particularly suited for the task.

I'd really like to see blackguard become a base class though... with similar, but different abilities. I wouldn't want to see a good blackguard, though.
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
Paladin of Asmodeus.
Paladin of Bane.
Paladin of Tiamat.

Need more?

I see what you're getting at, but I still have difficulty seeing how a Paladin's peculiar ability set exemplifies any of these. An evil cleric could pick spells and abilities much more in line with being a petitioner of an evil dragon god Tiamat. I just don't see the flavor of the paladin's abilities particularly suited for the task.

I'd really like to see blackguard become a base class though... with similar, but different abilities. I wouldn't want to see a good blackguard, though.



Why not?  Lay on hands?  The very fact that so many of us can fail to agree on this means that giving the players the choice is /clearly/ the right option.