Why the Evil Pally hate?

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Let me start with this: nobody has a problem with evil clerics. Clerics are a martial priest, I mean really, that's what they are, and a character who becomes a cleric can worship anyone they wish, or no one, picking an alignment.

Now I'm saying this: a Paladin is a more martial Cleric. They traded in their prayer book for a set of plate and off they went. A paladin can be the hand of any deity, or alignment, they should wish, be it good, evil, or blue-cheese dressing.

I'm the DM for my group and I've never had a player opposed to the idea of evil paladins. "But there's a prestige class for that, Blackguard!" Yes, there is. I reserve that prestige class for a good paladin who decides to go bad, if the player wants to be a Blackguard. The way I see it, a blackguard is just a different style of evil paladin, the same way a Holy Liberator is a different style of good paladin.

Evil paladins only require cosmetic changes, holy turns to unholy, heal turns to smite, etc. Now in 4e, radiance turns to necrotic and you're already almost done. Evil paladins, I mean come on. I play in part to flex my creative muscles. I really don't take the flavor texts all that seriously, although they are a good guide to build context.
4e PHB assues PC's are heroic. If you are willing to go beyond the rules of the PHB, why there would ever be Evil Paladin Hate (EPH for short) I cannot understand.
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I don't get, either. Isn't the Pally meant to be for any alignment, not just Good?

It would be kinda neat if Radiant damage is just the paladin's damage type, and that radiant damage itself was technically unaligned, though preferred by the cause of good.
I don't get, either. Isn't the Pally meant to be for any alignment, not just Good?

Yes. The rules support paladins of all gods. The only restriction is that the paladins must match their god's alignment.

It would be kinda neat if Radiant damage is just the paladin's damage type, and that radiant damage itself was technically unaligned, though preferred by the cause of good.

Isn't that the way it is? That's certainly the impression I got.
In most cases, the word 'paladin' implies a good knight.

I have no problem with evil or neutral paladins, but I think maybe a re-naming would make sense to go along with it.

Evil Paladins would automatically be referred to as Blackguards by NPCs for example.

Unaligned though? Maybe Crusader I guess, it isn't as good-related.
http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19670890/Keep_on_the_Shadowfell_Character_Errata
4e PHB assues PC's are heroic. If you are willing to go beyond the rules of the PHB, why there would ever be Evil Paladin Hate (EPH for short) I cannot understand.

A Hero is a bit ambiguous, for instance in war between a human and orc village, a brave orc manages to trigger a landslide and winning the day for the orcs. He's a hero to the Orcs and Villain to the Humans. An Evil Paladin could be fighting in what he believes in, which just happens to be more relaxed in thinking than that of Good Alignment.
WoTC said paladins were taken from western mythology, and in that there aren't evil paladins. Personally I don't care for DnD, but I guess there are purists out there.
Maybe we should rename paladins into divine or holy/unholy champions, since they've basically become champions of their respective gods.
I will defend both the 3.5 alignment restriction on paladins to LG and the 4e freedom for paladins to be of any alignment!

They're somewhat different classes. In 3.5 the paladin was a chosen champion of justice. In 4e, the paladin is a pious warrior of any deity.

In 3.5 default, the paladin had the same relationship to deities as the sorcerer: i.e., a paladin, like a sorcerer, could choose to worship any deity, and a paladin, like a sorcerer, could even be a zealous champion of that deity, but a paladin, like a sorcerer, was not at all affected, as a class, by deity. Although as a matter of roleplaying and DM intervention, a paladin, like a sorcerer, might receive visions, blessings, or commands from his deity or quests from his deity's church.

Admittedly, a 3.5 paladin was somewhat more likely to be a zealous champion of a deity than a sorcerer, but that was just a roleplaying. It did not inhere in the paladin class.

The paladin was, not a more warlike cleric, but something else entirely: a martial paragon of righteousness. Within this paradigm, the LG alignment restriction made sense.

Now, as for 4e, if 4e paladins are champions of deities, then why not allow them to be of any alignment? The divine power source is based on the gift of deities, then why should the divine defender (paladin) be any more restricted in alignment than the divine leader (cleric)?

It seems like you can find someone to defend any absurd WotC-sanctioned rule on these boards, from people being crushed to death in minutes by 100 feet of water pressure to samurai being two-weapon fighters. Well, now you've just witnessed someone defending two completely opposed WotC-sanctioned rules from different editions. Yay!
"Paladin" means "Knight of the Palace"...technically, by the strict definition, they shouldn't be religious warriors at all. That said, most (semi)historical figures described as paladins were pious Christians.

That said, I kinda like the idea of evil paladins doing radiant damage. I mean, any pali is sorta like a mortal angel for their deity (yes, I know there's a cleric paragon path that does that). I'd need to double check, but do any angels do necrotic damage?
While it has been suggested that "evil" paladins change the Radiant keyword of their powers to Necrotic, I don't believe that's needed. Radiant does not necessarily mean "holy power" -- it is more divine in origin, and there are certainly evil divinities. There are many warlock powers that are obviously dark and sinister that inflict Radiant damage. Even the unholy and corrupt can be majestic and awe-inspiring.

However, I do not believe that the paladin (and cleric) presented in the Player's Handbook would do evil aligned characters of those classes any justice. They are very heavily flavored and thematically designed for good and unaligned characters. This can largely be remedied, however, by writing your own powers and rituals for evil clerics and paladins. Designing original variant classes for evil clerics and paladins (such as a 'blackguard' base class) would solve the problem completely, but would be very involving and time-consuming.
I like it that paladin works for evil too, although I'd appreciate if WotC would provide alternative names for powers that have goodie-sounding names

Multiclassing to warlock gives nice flavour to Evil paladins!
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This heroes only stuff is soooo red box. Can't we get some rules for/ and classes to support evil alignments?I like the simplicity of the new alignment system, i don't like the assumption that all pc's are goody two shoes. Maybe the shadow power source will help change that.
Unaligned though? Maybe Crusader I guess, it isn't as good-related.

Why not "champion of X" where X is the deity name? It doesn't make a difference to me though, I've never had a problem calling evil characters "paladin" regardless of the historical meaning of the word.
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Thank_Dog wrote:

2Chlorobutanal wrote:
I think thatĀ if you have to argue to convince others about the clarity of something, it's probably not as objectively clear as you think.

No, what it means is that some people just like to be obtuse.

There are a few circumstances where switching Radiant to Necrotic would be preferable, though - such as if the deity in question is strongly associated with death and the undead. Also it would be very good for imitating situations such as Warcraft III, where Prince Arthas turns from being a paladin to being a death knight - just a simple keyword change and the entire flavor of the character is different with few real alterations in mechanics (except where undead are concerned).
Paladin's as a warrior-of-a-deity only came about fairly recently I believe. I think it started in Forgotten Realms. I think that 'paladin' is a misleading term to use in the new edition. 'Templar' or 'Crusdader' would have been preferable.
Then the hue and cry would be 'why did they rename the paladin?'

But seriously - look at the Song of Roland. Both the Franks and the Moors have warriors who would be considered 'paladins' in D&D terms, but because it's a shameless propaganda piece, the Franks are depicted in shining terms and the Moors are portrayed somewhat less honorably (although there are exceptions).
Yeah. People hate evil pallies because of the normal archetype in all our heads. Some people can't remove fluff and see a class and the name of the class as your place in the universe.

Paladin was the name given to some guards in some ancient palace (forgive my fuzzy history lesson). Paladin... pala... palace.... that's where the word comes from. Only the most righteous and virtuose men were chosen to be these guards. All stereotypical righteous warriors in medieval fantasy entertainment are modeled after these paladins originally. That's why GGygax and crew had them be LG. But I don't see everyones hate on evil pallies. The definition has changed in each transation. Palace guard to righteous warriors to holy warriors. If they're holy warriors why wouldn't evil have theirs. Just guarding an evil palace is all.
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I frequently feature evil paladins and divine champions in my campaigns. I suppose its because my DnD career grew up in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. The Zhents are probably my favorite evil organization, maybe tied with the Red Wizards of Thay.

Scyllua Darkhope, Manshoon, and Szass Tam have always been my personal heroes, at least from a DnD perspective.

On that note, however, I agree with the notion that Paladins (and by relation Clerics as well) should continue to deal Radiant damage (maybe of a different color) regardless of deity or alignment. I think that good prefers Radiant for several reasons, none of which directly related to their deity (save maybe Pelor.)

Light allows things to be seen. People who want to do things unseen are usually doing things that are "evil" or at the least going against what the law would have. Thus, light = good, dark = evil.

More than that, however, Undead are often more closely associated with evil than almost any other creature (save demons and devils) and would be more common on the material plane (IMO). Undead, being creatures of Shadow, happen to also be susceptible to Radiant damage.

That being said, I think I could really go for something like, I dunno, a necrotic-damage-dealing Paladin of Orcus, maybe. :D
That being said, I think I could really go for something like, I dunno, a necrotic-damage-dealing Paladin of Orcus, maybe. :D

And you wouldn't necessarily have to stop at just those two types: in Eberron, you might have a cold-damage-dealing sahuagin Paladin of the Devourer, for instance... or in a Norse-type one, a thunder-dealing Paladin of Thor.
Because Paladins are supposed to be Champions of good but now because of all the people who cried because they couldn't be a Evil Paladin they can be any alingment now. I suspect these are the same people who cried about no evil Rangers. I do not like the idea of Evil Paladins at all. Evil already has tons of nasty monsters and powers in it's arsonal. I hate to be a jerk but I agree with one fellow evil Paladin hater. : "Evil Paladins are just for the people who couldn't roleplay a LG Paladin out of a wet paperbag and who cried about it."
And you wouldn't necessarily have to stop at just those two types: in Eberron, you might have a cold-damage-dealing sahuagin Paladin of the Devourer, for instance... or in a Norse-type one, a thunder-dealing Paladin of Thor.

Absolutely! In fact, I was thinking about something similar myself. Such as a Paladin of Zehir dealing Poison (or Acid) damage with his attacks. Perhaps a good idea for a BBEG is the Mindflayer Paladin of Ilsensine whose attacks deal Psychic damage, and the added effects explained through messing with someone's head.

Whether either of those are honestly good ideas, I don't know. The "Original Deviant" which spawned in my head was the Dragonborn Paladin of Tiamat using Fire Damage with his powers rather than Radiant.

Anyway, I tend to disagree with your friend AkumaDaimyo. One of my most beloved 3.X characters was a LG Paladin of Pelor. He was one of my my favorite characters to roleplay as, and he was as just and righteous as the iconic LG paladins you think about, without all the "Lawful-Stupid" aspects. He wasn't blinded by his faith, in either his deity or the law. He knew that governments could be (and were) corrupted, but he decided to lead by example by following the Just Laws of the Heavens, and spread Pelor's teachings.

However, another one of my favorite characters was a CE Paladin of Erythnul that I played. Also fun to RP with, I took CE in a different direction than most people (he wasn't an insane psychopathic killer.) He was sneaky, underhanded, and deceptive to the extreme, but still filled with a divine power that was not a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield.

These were two completely different characters that were equally fun to play, but in different ways. Evil paladins, IMO, have just as much of a right to exist as good paladins. Who else would serve as the martial champions of the evil deities, if not evil paladins?
Actually, one of the reasons that at least some folks hate evil paladins is flashbacks to the old anti-paladin, who was so painfully broken that inclusion as a PC would pretty much ensure that one character would dominate the rest of the campaign.

The new DMG has a good section on evil paladins. Simple suggestion is just change the damage type, radiant to necrotic, "holy fire" to a coating of acid, blinding light into a hood of darkness. As long as you don't change the power level, it's easy enough. If your DM is permitting evil characters, an evil paladin is an option. Me, I just don't like running games that are just an excuse for players to play out their antisocial fantasies.
Absolutely! In fact, I was thinking about something similar myself. Such as a Paladin of Zehir dealing Poison (or Acid) damage with his attacks. Perhaps a good idea for a BBEG is the Mindflayer Paladin of Ilsensine whose attacks deal Psychic damage, and the added effects explained through messing with someone's head.

Whether either of those are honestly good ideas, I don't know. The "Original Deviant" which spawned in my head was the Dragonborn Paladin of Tiamat using Fire Damage with his powers rather than Radiant.

Anyway, I tend to disagree with your friend AkumaDaimyo. One of my most beloved 3.X characters was a LG Paladin of Pelor. He was one of my my favorite characters to roleplay as, and he was as just and righteous as the iconic LG paladins you think about, without all the "Lawful-Stupid" aspects. He wasn't blinded by his faith, in either his deity or the law. He knew that governments could be (and were) corrupted, but he decided to lead by example by following the Just Laws of the Heavens, and spread Pelor's teachings.

However, another one of my favorite characters was a CE Paladin of Erythnul that I played. Also fun to RP with, I took CE in a different direction than most people (he wasn't an insane psychopathic killer.) He was sneaky, underhanded, and deceptive to the extreme, but still filled with a divine power that was not a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield.

These were two completely different characters that were equally fun to play, but in different ways. Evil paladins, IMO, have just as much of a right to exist as good paladins. Who else would serve as the martial champions of the evil deities, if not evil paladins?

Um a Blackgaurd maybe? A Deathknight? Vampires? Evil Clerics? There is NO need for a Evil Paladin. Evil has SOOO many options for Champions it is insane. You could even use a Dragon in some cases.
Um a Blackgaurd maybe? A Deathknight? Vampires? Evil Clerics? There is NO need for a Evil Paladin. Evil has SOOO many options for Champions it is insane. You could even use a Dragon in some cases.

Good has a like amount of options. Sure, there's lots of evil races. But good has quite a good number of options itself. So, therefor, if it makes no sense for Evil to have champions, why would Good need them? Good has Couatls, Lillends, Angels, Archons, and Guardinals. Oh, and clerics. And, technically, the Metallic Dragons have a one-up on the Chromatic ones (Gold Dragon is CR 26, Red 25) and each of them have two different breath weapons.

Now, that was back in the 3.X days. So, who when we're talking about only a CR 1 group of creatures. Who is going to provide a charismatic front to marshall the armies of evil against those of good? Clerics are fit warriors in 3.X, of that there is no doubt, but Paladins in that spectrum are even more so. More HP, higher to-hit, etc.

Now, I'm not saying you're wrong. An opinion is an opinion. However, good has many options, as does evil. And, also, evil paladins are not just for people that "couldn't roleplay a LG paladin out of a wet paper bag and who cried about it." I've played both ends of the spectrum and had a blast on either end. And that's my opinion as well.
This heroes only stuff is soooo red box. Can't we get some rules for/ and classes to support evil alignments?

My red box lists chaotic as a perfectly valid PC choice, and describes it the way evil gets described now.

I used to be very anti-evil toons, but over time I've changed my views on that. There's a lot of things that are just suspect about who's good an evil.

The lore in past editions of DnD in particular often painted alignment along skin color lines - darker skin was evil. Added to this, the mythos of those darker races often paralleled real world ethnic groups - Orcs matched the 19th-mid 20th century depictions of Native Americans, Drow became drow through the same myth that Africans became Africans in US slave-era theology (which was still taught in at least one major US faith into the 1980s).

- with that baggage I started seeing the 'evil' races as possibly really the good ones.

If you redraw it all as a political conflict, you can see different sides calling each other evil, but are their actions really all that different?

What do "good" PCs do? They run around murdering villages of 'lesser races' and stealing their loot.

What do "evil" monsters do? They run around murdering villages of 'PC races' and stealing their loot.

hmm...

If we've been at this for many generations, and me and my tribe come in and attack your new town for the first time, who really started it? Who's in the wrong? If your town is built on newly cleared badlands, and my people lived in the badlands for generations, who's taking who's land when I burn out your town and put in my people?

The game can write 'good' on your toon and 'evil' on mine, but if they're up to the same things, is there a difference?

The developers of World of Warcraft seem to have been thinking the same things as me. If you really read the lore of the two sides in that game, the Alliance starts to sound pretty bad, and the Horde starts to sound pretty noble - but each with counter points under that as well.

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But even if we ignore all of that, if we pretend that my toon really is evil, perhaps a human that preys on other humans - we can then turn to the dynamics of, well, dynamic fiction?

Who gets the better dialogue in the movie, who gets the better actors, who gets the better outfit?

And villains in fiction often work together very well... There's nothing like a pack of militantly organized villains to get a story going.

And is it bad on us to play evil toons? If James Earl Jones plays Darth Vadar in a movie does that mean the -actor- is a sith lord? Or just that he's a better actor than Mark Hamill?

We go to movies and read books to cheer on the hero, but we're really there to watch the villain.

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My mental archetype for a paladin is a Crusader. The knights of the crusades would probably describe themselves as Paladins if they used the terms we're playing around with, and the people on their side of that conflict would agree... but with 700 years of hindsight, people descended from both sides of that conflict can easily see how evil they were. This was a series of wars about forcibly converting people by the sword - about wiping out 'infidels' with extreme violence. Those who's lands they entered used just as brutal tactics back upon them, but that's no justification.

Its not hard to say, in today's world, that anyone who uses religion as a justification for violence is evil - and that is exactly what a paladin, of any self-proclaimed alignment, does.
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What do "good" PCs do? They run around murdering villages of 'lesser races' and stealing their loot.

What do "evil" monsters do? They run around murdering villages of 'PC races' and stealing their loot.
.....

That's how many people play, but I don't like that. I think according to this list, it makes "good" PCs evil, and "evil" monsters even more evil! I don't like to play "kill everything and steal their stuff" kind of game. D&D isn't ADOM.
That's how many people play, but I don't like that. I think according to this list, it makes "good" PCs evil, and "evil" monsters even more evil! I don't like to play "kill everything and steal their stuff" kind of game. D&D isn't ADOM.

*nods* If I see "good" pc going around slaughtering orc and goblins,purely becuse there orcs and goblin, then they may find there alignment shifting...

On evil paladin, I have no issues with them, through there name in game might be very diffrent. Still I expect paladins to very strongly aligned with whatever alignment AND mindset there god is.

To give you a example or 3 , I expect a Banite paladin to be scary as hell, a Tormite one nigh uncorruptable and a Suneite one to be increably well groomed.
We're going to have to make the mindshift that 4e paladins are not 3e or 2e paladins, along with the rest of the classes. The 4e rogue is a lot more combat-oriented than the previous editions, the 4e wizard is a BIG change from previous edition wizards, and so on. But, if you don't like the name for your own campaign, that's easy enough to change. Just takes a pencil...
Look, Anti-Paladins or Evil Paladins have been around since first edition D&D. I have an old dragon magazine article on building one and using them in campaigns somewhere in all my d&d stuff. They were billed as the ultimate anti hero/villian. Where the paladin layed hands to cure wounds, the Anti Paladin's touch caused wounds. Anti-Paladins not only were immune to disease but they were the bearers of disease. Finally they could turn undead, lead them or even create them as well. Their weapon was the Unholy Avenger/Reaver +5.

In my gaming group of 27 years we never looked at classes as historically based like some people have posted and played them according to historical basis (lame). We realized that this is FANTASY and played it like we felt it should be played as long as it stayed in relative tune to what the character was meant for in our interpretation, not what everyone else in the D&D world felt it should be. We don't like cookie cutter classes and style of play. (which is what I fear 4th edition is headed towards) and Anti-Paladins were great to use to break that mold. It was perfectly alright to wipe out a village of orcs or goblins because hey, they are evil and do pray on the weak. If it was evil, then we Paladins wiped it out no if ands or buts. Nothings ruins a game more then trying to discuss the morality of a characters actions and upsetting a player or two. Believe me I've seen that too many times at a gaming table because someone felt it was their duty to correct you on how wrong you are in playing a character the way you were playing it.

Play a Paladin anyway you want and go with the idea that Paladins can be any alignment or race for that matter (limited to humans only in 1st & 2nd) as long as you have fun and dont cookie cutter your character or play style to what others envision you should do. If they do, smack them up side their head with you mighty +5 hand of righteousness or selfishness depending on your alignment.
It's simple. The name, Paladin, has long been viewed as a defender of good, a champion of divine virtue and more. Come up with a different name for your not-good paladins and people won't have an issue.
The issue about evil paladins is over differences of opinion. Like Aria said, to the anti-evil pally brigade, the paladin is seen as a champion of good and virtue, as well as a servant of a deity. To pro-evil pally forces, the paladin is a soldier of god(s), and thus their ideals would reflect their chosen deity.

Personally, I fall in the middle. I view paladins as virtuous knights, dedicated to protecting the weak and innocent, and smiting those who would seek to harm others. However, I could understand the concept of a knight who thinks he's doing the right thing, but anyone else would think him a monster. Lets take a couple of examples from the movie Kingdom of Heaven

In the film, there are two characters who could be considered paladins. The Hospitaler, friend of Balian, and Reynald de Chatillon. The Hospitaler teaches Balian much about faith, saying

"I put no stock in religion. By the word religion I have seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called the will of god. I have seen too much religion in the eyes of too many murderers. Holiness is in right action, and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, and goodness. What God desires is here."
[points to head]
"And here."
[points to heart]
"And what you decide to do every day, you will be a good man - or not."

Reynold, on the other hand, in the name of his God, raids and murders. Both could be considered paladins, technically. Personally though, if my paladin ran into Reynold, he'd find himself quickly on the Top 10 'To Smite' list.

Ultimately, it really boils down to how to wish to play it, for better or worse. Just don't start crying when my paladin of Bahamut calls your evil paladin of Bane a heretic and traitor, and lays the smackdown on him. :D
I'm all for allowing evil paladins in my campaigns, but I don't think I would ever change the damage type.

Deities (and consequently both Clerics and Paladins) have divine power, and their followers call upon this energy for their prayer abilities. In my opinion, "radiant" refers to divine energy more than it does "good." Even the word "holy" can mean pious, devout, or spiritual.


Evil paladins try to be just as "godly" and "holy" as good paladins; they just have a different god to whom they standard of measure.
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