New packet Paladin discussion - Smiting Is Not Aligned.

Discuss the Paladin here.

Notable points of contention:


Alignment impact -



  • Paladin has a lawful requirement. 

  • Detection is for specific creatures, not alignment. 

  • Smite is not alignment-based, though alignment does determine the damage type. 

  • Oaths are alignment-based, and grants specific Channel Divinity abilities



Paladins get a summoned mount as a class feature, though summoning takes a large amount of time.

D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Forced alignment. Very very very bad.

They said they wouldn't force alignment on classes after the Monk. 
It's not that forced, though.  If you weren't using alignment at all, the entire class would still function perfectly fine.  Removing alignment is completely transparent.  The only mechanical impact is in the things you get as a result of oath, and the first thing I'm going to do at an actual table is let people customize their own oaths.

I severely dislike alignment mechanics, and I'm fine with this.  I'd prefer they soften the "must be" bits, but I'm not going to about it.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
It's not that forced, though.  If you weren't using alignment at all, the entire class would still function perfectly fine.  Removing alignment is completely transparent.



It's just them going back on their word after the monk debacle. It's arbitrary, and it invalidates Paladins that were possible before. Paladins of any deity or alignment. Just not very inclusive is all. If anything, it should have something for every alignment, even Unaligned.

Saying it must be lawful is a rule. I mean, it's a hard coded rule into the class. It can almost be interpreted that if you don't use alignment, you can't use the class. For a new DM, anyway. 
They're not "going back on their word" because their "word" is "everything is subject to change."

Agree, or don't agree, but don't accuse them of lying to you.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
They're not "going back on their word" because their "word" is "everything is subject to change."

Agree, or don't agree, but don't accuse them of lying to you.



They flat out said that they wouldn't be doing that again. Doing that again after saying they're not doing that again is a lie.
I'm kind of disappointed that the class is basically set up as Traditional Paladin + Halfway-there reskins. Like, whoever decided that paladins would represent a variety of alignments didn't tell whoever was creating the paladin spell list that. Also lawful neutral Blackguards smite with radiant damage, because why not.

I'm about as happy with the setup as I was expecting to be (though not as happy as I was hoping to be), but on the whole the class feels like the non-Cavalier variants were more late additions than something the class was built to accommodate.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
Level 8 can be added to the pile of dead levels if you don't want the mount. There's no alternative there. Yeah, hopefully this is just another example of them trolling us to see how far they can push. Forced alignment is one of my few automatic deal breakers, though.

If they had a general build for people who don't use alignment, it wouldn't be so bad. As it is, you have to pick one of three alignment stereotypes. 
Keep in mind this is the first release of the Paladin.  Assuming this is the full monty is most definitely a bad idea.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Keep in mind this is the first release of the Paladin.  Assuming this is the full monty is most definitely a bad idea.



It's just the fact of them going back on what they said after it caused issues. Very bad PR move. 
Do you have any comments on it besides the PR implications?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
The LN and LE seem tacked on at the last minute to mitigate people flipping over LG only.

Dead levels haven't been addressed. I would have hoped for at least some progress in that regard.

Level 8 is dead for any Paladin who doesn't want a mount. There should be an alternative at that level.

All in all, not very impressed with the Paladin. The alignment stuff added to the not impressed basically makes it something I would never play.
As put off as I am by dead levels, I feel like "Level X is dead if you don't want the class feature granted at level X" is a kind of rangy criterion to be using. I recognize that the mount isn't as universally central as some other class features are, but I'd rather worry about full dead levels before worrying about levels that only have class features that not everybody might care for.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
the fact they only ever make cha saves seams a bit much, give WoTC said they want to make evey stat matter. not to mention being able to give a bonus equal to cha to a allies save every round.

and if I read the mount correctly it does not scale, that is bound to cause problems given how much HP has to carry in 5e.

and woud it have been hard to give the various channel ablities and say "pick 3" or something? hell even if they wanted to put restritins on each one so evil palidans cant take LoH or something it would be better for all concered

As put off as I am by dead levels, I feel like "Level X is dead if you don't want the class feature granted at level X" is a kind of rangy criterion to be using. I recognize that the mount isn't as universally central as some other class features are, but I'd rather worry about full dead levels before worrying about levels that only have class features that not everybody might care for.



the problem is that a mount is worthless is too many situations, and often will not be used at all. you can easily go 3 or 4 levels without using a mount, and no mater how fast he is, or what he can do you are always going to be limited by the worse mount and rider in the party, not the best
Insulting someones grammar on a forum is like losing to someone in a drag race and saying they were cheating by having racing stripes. Not only do the two things not relate to each other (the logic behind the person's position, and their grammar) but you sound like an idiot for saying it (and you should, because its really stupid )
As put off as I am by dead levels, I feel like "Level X is dead if you don't want the class feature granted at level X" is a kind of rangy criterion to be using. I recognize that the mount isn't as universally central as some other class features are, but I'd rather worry about full dead levels before worrying about levels that only have class features that not everybody might care for.



Well, that's why I mentioned the dead levels first. The mount is just something that should be optional, and I would hope it is at some point with an alternative. 11 dead levels? That's hardly enough to even release the class.
I'd prefer the wording of Divine Smite to refer to your Oath (Cavalier/Blackguard) rather than alignment.  There's a bit of weirdness in that a LN Blackguard has a radiant Smite.

I of course would also prefer they delete the alignment restrictions altogether, though I'm pleased that they didn't actually put any RAW penalties for violating alignment.

Otherwise the basic template seems perfectly reasonable to me. 

Otherwise the basic template seems perfectly reasonable to me. 



That would mitigate most of my issues. If they even gave the assumption that someone might want to play one without using alignment. I'm waiting to see what they have to say about going back on their word, and if they plan on including a generalized modular list of abilities for no alignment.
As put off as I am by dead levels, I feel like "Level X is dead if you don't want the class feature granted at level X" is a kind of rangy criterion to be using. I recognize that the mount isn't as universally central as some other class features are, but I'd rather worry about full dead levels before worrying about levels that only have class features that not everybody might care for.



Well, that's why I mentioned the dead levels first. The mount is just something that should be optional, and I would hope it is at some point with an alternative. 11 dead levels? That's hardly enough to even release the class.



Yeah.

That's a LOT of dead in one class.

And given that ANY dead is too much dead...

Still, as long as there isn't any left by release then it's all good.  I don't mind seeing dead levels in "first time" attempts at classes.     
As put off as I am by dead levels, I feel like "Level X is dead if you don't want the class feature granted at level X" is a kind of rangy criterion to be using. I recognize that the mount isn't as universally central as some other class features are, but I'd rather worry about full dead levels before worrying about levels that only have class features that not everybody might care for.



Well, that's why I mentioned the dead levels first. The mount is just something that should be optional, and I would hope it is at some point with an alternative. 11 dead levels? That's hardly enough to even release the class.



Yeah.

That's a LOT of dead in one class.

And given that ANY dead is too much dead...

Still, as long as there isn't any left by release then it's all good.  I don't mind seeing dead levels in "first time" attempts at classes.     



I don't either... but 11?
Not terribly worried about this Paladin. Although rough - as expected - it's playable. Now, whether or not anyone in my group will play one, I don't know. I think I'm the only one who's ever played a Paladin, and that's in our one Pathfinder game where my character is a multiclass Paladin/Monk.

In regards to dead levels (in general, not just with the Paladin): Again, not worried at this point in the playtest. I have little to no doubt that numerous people have mentioned dead levels being an issue in many forms of feedback, so I'm sure the developers know about them.

But, like any creative endeavor, you rough things out first, and then fill in from there. A rough draft of a manuscript is messy as all hell, usually. The writer is typically more worried about getting ideas down on the page first so they don't get lost in the mind anywhere, and then will "pretty it up" later on.

So, too, do I see this process. Get a rough outline of the class, and then grab some crayons and color in the outline (with further class features or what-have-you). It seems to me that a number of classes - although the Rogue sticks out in my mind - started out with some sparse abilities, and have become more "filled in" over time.

It's a process, that's all. Yelling that there are dead levels now is like walking into a car manufacturing plant halfway down the line and complaining there aren't doors on the car yet. 

For those confused on how DDN's modular rules might work, this may provide some insight: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/11/the-world-of-darkness-shines-when-it-abandons-canon

@mikemearls: Uhhh... do you really not see all the 3e/4e that's basically the entire core system?

 

It is entirely unnecessary to denigrate someone else's approach to gaming in order to validate your own.

Personally I think a new ability at every level is too many. I would rather have dead levels than decision paralysis at the table.
Personally I think a new ability at every level is too many. I would rather have dead levels than decision paralysis at the table.



Every one of DDN's competitors has fixed the dead level problem. It's a huge issue. Even if it comes down to filling it in with feats. Getting nothing when you level makes the level feel meaningless. In a level based game, every level should have a huge impact.
I do really hope that sometime before the next packet we get some inkling of the nature of the mystery system that allegedly takes over for feats at higher levels. Beyond whatever benefits that confers in terms of making classes appear less sparse, I feel as though that's a fairly significant feel thing in a playtest that's supposed to be testing feel.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
Mmmm, smite is sweet.
My two copper.
I don't see why they need to bring alingment into it at all. I think the Oaths are more than sufficient to model the Paladin standing for something, and they do so without requiring (or precluding) alignment in any way.

That is, you make a specific oath. You can choose from some suggestions or make your own. You get a benefit so long as you do everything in your power to keep your oath.

Why bring alingment into it? "Paladins make an oath which they endeavor to keep at all costs, and in exchange for doing so receive a mechanical benefit" is plenty flavorful and provides tons of grist for RP, without bringing alignment into it at all.
People, remember one very important thing. They have stated, MORE THAN ONCE, that dead levels are a late stage priority. We are just seeing some of these classes for the first time, and they are still trying to pin down classes they released in the first packet. You can't flesh out a class fully until you have it's functions down first, period. Once they are satisfied with how a class functions, THEN, and ONLY then, will they do something about dead levels.

It's a tired subject that has been responded to more than once.
My two copper.
I think my biggest gripe is just too many x/day abilities. Folding LoH as a channel divinity AND Smite into the same pile AND forcing the player to choose one or the other per-day is something im not a fan of. Looks like ill be throwing in Milestones into this game. Defeat 3 encounters, regain a single use of one of your class features.
Just to help myself, I went back to the column in which Mearls discussed alignment requirements after the release of the monk.  (Linked here, from Legends & Lore dated 10 Dec 2012 entitled Chaotic Magical.)

First off, let's talk about alignment. I'll be blunt and say that I'd prefer for it to remain almost entirely in the background as an element to describe the ethos of a character, monster, organization, and so forth. We know that a lot of people prefer alternate systems or will just cut it entirely, so baking it into rules is a bad idea. You can't detect evil in a campaign that doesn't use alignments.

Instead, such spells will tend to focus on more concrete elements of the setting. For instance, protection from evil might ward away fiends and the undead. Detect evil might reveal the presence and influence of such horrid creatures. The nice thing about our approach to magic is that you are no longer wedded to using every spell you prepare. Don't encounter any demons or vampires? Use your spell slots on magic missile or shield instead.

The paladin is the one class that is going to deal with alignment, and even in that case we'll build it to focus on what the alignment represents, rather than treating chaotic, good, lawful, or evil as triggers for mechanics. A chaotic good paladin might have suggested abilities that focus on liberation, punishing would-be tyrants, and so forth, but those dwell on the concepts forged from the union of chaos and good: freedom, personal liberty, and so forth.

When it comes to other classes, such as the monk's requirement to be lawful, we'll use playtest feedback as our guide. I wouldn't be surprised if the alignment requirement simply becomes an option for DMs to invoke because, as I said earlier, I fully expect that alignment will be one system among several you can use to describe your character's ethos. Alignment will be in the default rules—too much blood has been spilled arguing over Batman's alignment for it to be anything else—but it won't be THE rule.


So....

I'm disappointed that they've chosen to only release Lawful versions of the Paladin.  In fact, in Mearl's column this week, he said, "For the first time ever, we are giving you the paladin, the anti-paladin, and the warden, all in one package. Those three characters map to good, evil, and neutrality. The class as a whole is called the paladin, but the individual types are the cavalier (good), blackguard (evil), and warden (neutral)."  No mention whatsoever of the Lawful portion of the alignment axis, only the Good-Evil axis.  An omission which, combined with the previous column, implied that Law-Chaos would, if not be omitted outright, would at least be options available.

I'm disappointed that they use the word "must" instead of "should" or "most likely" or "most often" or "is recommended to be."

I'm disappointed that once again Mearls has mislead us.  It may not be an outright lie, but it is a severe omission of the truth, in both cases.  There is no offered "Chaotic Good" paladin.

Granted, it's the first release of the class, and it is still in the playtest phase.

But as a show of good faith, they ought to have given some indication that they were actually going to, for once, try to do as they said they would, instead of once again handing us a bait and switch and expecting us to pay them for it.

Yet again, I find nothing worth my giving them money.  And, no matter what else may be the case, that is the ultimate goal for them: getting paid for this excrement.  I realize that I'm just one person, and that maybe they can find a whole lot of people to buy this stuff?  But I've been spending my own money on D&D products since the mid '80s, including virtually everything released for 4e, and I have no inclination whatsoever to continue to do so, thus far.
Taken that alignment is optional, i think the Paladin's alignment restriction is okay enought and might be the best of both world.

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

I think it's interesting that they also don't map perfectly to the described alignments; Wardens can be good and Blackguards can be Neutral, too. I like that Oaths at least provide space for future concepts like a LN "Gray Knight" focused on grim justice or a Knight of Chaos. (Crimson Knight?)
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
I also wish Channel Divinity were a 1/encounter resource rather than X/day.  It also seems much more flavorful.
Taken that alignment is optional, i think the Paladin's alignment restrictionis flexible enought and might be the best of both world.


Oath of the Cavalier... Alignment: You must be lawful good.

Oath of the Warden... Alignment: You must be lawful good or lawful neutral.

Oath of the Blackguard... Alignment: You must be lawful neutral or lawful evil.


Which part of the word "must" are you failing to comprehend?

Sure, in my tabletop game, I can choose as DM to strike that.
But any other DM whose game I play in can choose to enforce it, and I would have no option if I could not convince them otherwise.
And if I go to a sanctioned event, I would be forced to do the same.

So, no, it is not flexible enough, and is not the best of both worlds.  It is another line of BS being fed to us buy someone who is increasingly proving himself (to me) as someone whose reputation as a game designer is a whole lot of overblown hype and a whole lot of nothing but disappointment.
Its flexible because alignment is optional. 

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

I tend to agree with Plaguescarred here.  This is the least intrusive possible form of alignment restriction.  Though I'll note that if you play without alignment then everone's Divine Smite is technically radiant.
In that case, then anything put out there, with or without alignment mandates, would be "optional," "flexible," and "use as you see fit."

But the fact that it is mandatory in anything sanctioned makes it non-optional in sanctioned events.

Just as easily, one could say, "These alignments are recommended, but are not mandatory unless the DM chooses to make it so."

That would be the "best of both worlds."  Because then it would default to Opt-In and not Opt-Out.

This is more of the same old excrement.  Just like every other edition with alignment enforcement.  All of them were just as "optional" and "flexible," no?

So what's the bloody difference between that and this?
This is the least intrusive possible form of alignment restriction.


Opt In is the least intrusive possible form of alignment restriction.  This is not Opt In, this is Opt Out.

Though I'll note that if you play without alignment then everone's Divine Smite is technically radiant.


Why?  Why not make that a player option?
I also agree with Plaguescarred here. If you aren't using alignment, then there cannot, by any logic, be an alignment restriction. Done deal.

For those confused on how DDN's modular rules might work, this may provide some insight: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/11/the-world-of-darkness-shines-when-it-abandons-canon

@mikemearls: Uhhh... do you really not see all the 3e/4e that's basically the entire core system?

 

It is entirely unnecessary to denigrate someone else's approach to gaming in order to validate your own.

Interestingly enough, the monk only has alignment as fluff now (no "Requirement: you must be ____ alignment").  That said, the requirement for the Paladin to have a certain alignment is just as crappy as having the Crusader take an alignment in 4E.
OFF-TOPIC
The Barbarian is still as inflexible as before, oh and FINALLY THEY GOT RID OF THAT FRICKIN' SKILL MASTERY FROM THE ROGUE.  Plus, they actually listened to the Warlord and Fighter rants here in the forum and made a palatable leader type warrior.  Still sucks that level 6 is absolutely dead, and it's the "warlord" build still absolutely sucks compared to even a [b]third[/i] of what a 4E Warlord can bring to the table (and probably just half of what a 3.5E Marshal can bring), and that's with the optional feats taken into consideration, but at least there's progress.

Reasons why the "warlord" option sucks:


  • At level 1 you have to choose between Strike Command and Warning Shout when outside your turn, due to the fact that both take a reaction to use

  • At level 4, due to Bounded Accuracy, Attack Orders is most definitely a must-have for majority of the game (and it still takes a reaction to use

  • At level 5, there are no options for a support type warlord

  • Combat Surge has no support benefit, and is purely a full offense option

  • Missing elements include


    • In-turn options that all other fighter builds have

    • Alternative damage mitigation and survival increasing options (probably works as a module, but as it stands the only way to fill this need is by enabling an optional module)



There's virtually no strategic element to the "warlord" until level 4, and it's basically a choice between "turn a miss to a hit", "turn a hit to a miss", and "deal more damage".  Even all the way up to level 11 (where you have the last "new" core function), there's nothing on repositioning, on making himself more useful as a tactician during his turn -- it's all off-turn boosting, so you're much less "leading" and much more "pom-pom boosting" -- and honestly I can never recommend this "warlord" to any of my players who even remotely like the 4E Warlord for any reason.  Perhaps if they wanted a combat-competent Bard they could make compromises, but this?!


So, regarding the Paladin as a whole....

Divine Grace is downright overpowered.
Getting 20 CHA means you got the equivalent of 20 in any other stat when it comes to saves.  Considering that other classes completely lack anywhere near such an advantage, it's basically the saves version of Skill Mastery.  And at level 1 too.

Rebuke/Turn Undead interestingly enough have no alignment restrictions.
For a class that's supposed to be alignment-restricted mechanically for thematic purposes, the ability of a Lawful Good Paladin to Rebuke Undead and a Lawful Evil Paladin to Turn Undead is hilarious.

Aura of Protection makes sense only for Lawful Good/Neutral Paladins.
And that's iffy on the Lawful Neutral.

The Paladin as presented is a field of broken promises.
Aren't they supposed to represent alignments and not deities? So why is even the fluff heavily referencing deities?  Add the fact that there's an alignment requirement for Paladins, and we're seeing a major disconnect with what is being told to us and what is actually being released.

A repeat of 4E perhaps? 
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Why?  Why not make that a player option?



Why is Smite radiant?  Because the actual text is:

"If you are not evil, the extra damage is radiant.  If you are evil, the extra damage is necrotic."

Without alignment you can't be evil and therefore the damage is radiant.

I'm not pointing this out because I think it's how the rules should work; I'm pointing it out because I think it's weird and unintended and they should clean up the RAW. 
I also agree with Plaguescarred here. If you aren't using alignment, then there cannot, by any logic, be an alignment restriction. Done deal.



The word Must contradicts that. Also, as I said in the other thread, even if you use alignment, it is still bad. Why must they be lawful only? Why can't the DM decide that kind of thing? Why can't we have chaotic and netural paladins? Why must the developer force their one true way on everyone's table? 

Simply put, it's bad design for a modular system. 
There is no offered "Chaotic Good" paladin.


Serious question:

If a person devotes himself to following a code of behavior that tells him to behave in a chaotic manner, is that person chaotic or lawful?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition