Finding Your Path: The Righteous Paladin

Hello world! :| This is going to possibly be the first in an occasional blog I will write about the Pathfinder tabletop RPG. I've been into DnD and tabletop for a little over a decade and I love getting new people into it! Hopefully someone might find these interesting, informative, or...something. Either way, let me know in the comments if you have any questions, recommendations, or disputes about anything in the post.

Paladins can ruin games, either directly or indirectly. I’ve seen it too many times and you can spot it from a mile away before it happens. The “Paladin trap”, as I refer to it, happens when the player, party, or GM expect the paladin to be a zealous character who is the fantasy equivalent of the Westboro Baptist Church. The Paladin is the one is “ruins all the party’s fun”, is a stick in the mud, and generally gets role played as someone who seems to have the least amount of genuine role playing, thinks that whatever your plan winds up being is never a good idea, and only seems to really make an impact when undead shows up. “Hey guys, uh…smite?”

I have always been drawn to paladin characters: stoic, champions of the faith that are there to help those in need and hinder those with evil intent. One of the things I always stress to tell those playing a paladin is a simple bit of advice: don’t be a dick. Paladins can be tolerant, paladins can be slow to wrath, and paladins can also be loyal to party members who might not follow the exact same line they do. Of course a lawful good paladin isn’t going to jive well with a chaotic, evil half-orc barbarian being in the same party but that goes without saying. There are many different routes to take a paladin that go beyond a “bible thumping”, smite factory.

Most of this is going to stem on the players ability to role play. Ah yes, role playing that bane of…role players…anyway. As mentioned earlier, this is going to be a group effort of everyone in the game not forcing the paladin to feel as though his only route is to be a dick. The GM needs not punish the paladin for simply being party of the group. Should the paladin have to atone for something the rogue did on the other side of town while the party was sleeping in the inn? Absolutely not, but sometimes with a poor GM the paladin might be subject to idiotic restrictions. The paladin should an oathbound archetype to possibly switch things up.

What’s an Oathbound paladin: an oathbound paladin through his or her order, deity, or personal conviction has made an oath to eradicate a particular type of evil in the world. Taking the oath bound approach not only opens up possibly different role playing options for your paladin but also gives you access to new abilities at certain levels. Just like with other archetypes, these abilities would replace existing ones. For example, an oathbound paladin against savagery would replace divine grace with holy reach. In terms of flavor and role playing, the oath bound paladin against savagery would go up against the savage hoards of those the likes of orcs, goblins, and more who are plagues upon “civil” society. There are nine oathbound variants to the archetype which I would recommend checking out if you’re interested in it. Personally, if interested in taking the oath bound archetype, I would check with your DM to get a feel for what type of campaign and setting he or she plans on using. Being an oathbound paladin against the wyrm would be fairly pointless if you never face dragons or anything related to them in sorcery or bloodline. Another caveat to the oathbound archetype is that you will need to ensure the god you choose for your character is appropriate to the oath you've chosen, but the link below can help with that.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Paladins can just end up being dickheads if that’s how you want to roleplay them. The point to this blog post was mostly to point out that there is more life in a paladin character than just being a walking cliché full of hate and rhetoric. The paladin can be fiercely loyal to his or her companions in the party and even be fun loving and full of life, but that’s up to you the role player. Just try not to be such a player as to where your entire party hopes that you fall on your sword…or mace.

Helpful links:

Pathfinder Paladin Archetypes

Pathfinder Oathbound Paladin Options

Heroforge Kickstarter Campaign - This is a Kickstarter that I have 0 involvement with outside of being a backer. As a tabletop guy this is awesome to me as it could potentially allow for the possibility of always being able to create a miniature that invokes the image I have for a character. I hate choosing placeholder miniatures or finding something that just kind of looks OK enough.

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