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    RangerGuy

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    Default Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    So a common problem in gaming is that of the paladin.

    In theory, a paladin is supposed to be a stalwart defender of law and good, and has some degree of responsibility to keep the party's less morally reputable members in check (lest by associating with an evil party the paladin fall and lose all their powers).

    In practice, paladins are often the annoying goody two shoes character, and have a tendency towards forcing the rest of the party into very narrow plots and limiting a lot of freedoms for the other players.

    Some of the blame for this falls on poor playing
    Some of it on poor DMing.

    How can this be fixed? Are there alterations that could be made to the class to better encourage players to act like Ochul (who is an example that I'm reasonably certain, for some reason, everyone on this forum is familiar with, and is what I believe a paladin should be.) and discourage the much less fun for everybody Miko-esque (a similarly familiar bad example) behavior?

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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    Quote Originally Posted by eru001 View Post
    Some of the blame for this falls on poor playing
    Some of it on poor DMing.
    In general, you can't fix those with rules. A few changes to the class might help good players and GMs avoid slipping, though. Too many seem to take it as a challenge to make the paladin fall. If the rest of the party accepts a paladin at all, then they should want him in the party and not just tolerate him.

    I would get rid of the "can't associate with evil characters" rule and make it more explicitly "can't do evil just because your friends are doing evil". How are you supposed to redeem anyone if you don't spend any time around them and show them a better way? And give that shining example a mechanical effect.

    Maybe an aura of justice and guilt that automatically buffs anyone near the paladin who tries to follow the example of good behaviour but the bonus turns into a penalty if you commit an evil act. Instead of the other PCs just using the paladin for his "lay on hands" healing and then making him look like an idiot by distracting him every time they want to lie, steal, or torture somebody, they'll actually try to be better people and feel bad about it when they slip up (morale bonus and penalty). If they do something bad, don't blame the paladin for it and take away his powers. The other PCs should have a reason to want the paladin around other than "he's another PC so we have to have him in the party because Larry wants to play another stupid paladin".

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    Quote Originally Posted by eru001 View Post
    How can this be fixed? Are there alterations that could be made to the class to better encourage players to act like Ochul (who is an example that I'm reasonably certain, for some reason, everyone on this forum is familiar with, and is what I believe a paladin should be.) and discourage the much less fun for everybody Miko-esque (a similarly familiar bad example) behavior?
    Scrap the code of conduct. Most codes are poor fits for any particular paladin character and several(3rd D&D for example) dictate the disruptive behavior you want to avoid via fear of falling.

    Now rebuild the code. Have the player work with you to describe the ideals that their character is going to be striving to personally be a moral exemplar of.

    For mechanics, you will neither punish nor reward the paladin for their allies moral failures/successes. Merely playing someone striving for moral excellence will cause enough opportunity for RP. You don't need or want to incentivize policing the other players. On the other hand you do want to reward the paladin for their own moral successes/progress.

    Finally you will want a falling mechanic, however discuss with the player to find what makes the most sense to the both of you. Personally I see 2 kinds of falls: the fall where the paladin embraces their code to a fault and the fall where the paladin drifts from their code. In both cases I have the paladin keep their powers but have society and their alignment react accordingly. Essentially their power source is being corrupted, I would adjust the class benefits to match the kind of corruption (focus on the part they are taking to a fault / change to include the shift in focus).*

    So now you have a class that does not dictate the player impose on the other player's agency and it removes the distraction of "falling" by making it so that it is not a crippling unexpected punishment. With the mechanical causes gone, then just work on the Player and DM.

    *2 examples:
    There were 2 brothers that grew up in a frontier village that suffered terribly from the occasional raiding of the orcs nearby. Both brothers swore they would protect the innocent village (reasons for codes are usually more complex but this is an example). Both brothers fought bravely and defended the village for many years. However as time went on the elder brother's mind focused more and more on the cruelty the orcs would inflict. He would sally forth to try to hurt the orcs long before they could raid. Eventually he focused on the slaughter of the evil orcs. The younger brother stayed in the city and came to know the villages better. As time went on he noticed the villagers were not as innocent and pure as he first thought. He started to prioritize the village defense based upon his judgement of the virtue of the villagers in that area. Eventually he was investigating and testing the villagers to measure their virtue. Both of these are falling paladins. As time went on I would have the elder paladin lose some abilities to make room for more Orc slaying focused abilities while the younger paladin would lose some of those combat abilities in exchange from some inquisition abilities. This would represent the shift in the power source whether it be a different deity or a change in ideals followed.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2016-04-25 at 12:11 PM.

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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    Quote Originally Posted by eru001 View Post
    Some of the blame for this falls on poor playing
    Some of it on poor DMing.
    Quote Originally Posted by Xuc Xac View Post
    In general, you can't fix those with rules.
    Start with this. You're asking for a mechanical incentive in response to either an RPing failure or a DMing failure, and that just doesn't fly.

    Quote Originally Posted by eru001 View Post
    How can this be fixed? Are there alterations that could be made to the class to better encourage players to act like Ochul (who is an example that I'm reasonably certain, for some reason, everyone on this forum is familiar with, and is what I believe a paladin should be.) and discourage the much less fun for everybody Miko-esque (a similarly familiar bad example) behavior?
    Here's the problem. You're suggesting that part of the blame falls on poor DMing - that is, a DM having a poor grasp of what a Paladin is or should be. You're then offering as a solution replacing that DM's definition of a Paladin with yours, namely O-Chul. While I think O-Chul is a great model, replacing one arbitrary definition with another really doesn't address the problem, which coincidentally is arbitrary definitions of Paladin.

    Yeah. The problem is the term. It's loaded, and generally with bad baggage. Here are several problems with it.
    1. Bad Paladin Players. They see the term as synonymous with "self-righteous" or "stick up the ****." They are overbearing and bossy at the best of times, and actively antagonistic at worst. They make everyone hate to be in a party with a Paladin.
    2. Bad non-Paladin Players. They see the term as "nanny cop." The Paladin exists to end everyone's fun and force them to comply with one character's moral code. It's annoying that the entire party needs to be constrained by a single character's alignment.
    3. Bad DMs. They see the term as "challenge." Specifically, the challenge is to make the Paladin fall. The Paladin is placed in situations where he either has to violate his code of conduct, and thus risk losing class features, or become an annoyance and obstacle for everyone else.

    So how do you deal with these?
    1. Bad Paladin Players: Talk to them. A Paladin is a shining beacon of justice, a hero, not a nuisance. A sword that smites Evil is also a shield that protects compassion and goodness. Tolerance can be a thing.
    2. Bad non-Paladin Players: Talk to them. A Paladin is an asset to your party, not a liability. Not every Paladin is an obnoxious jerk you want to punch in his perfect teeth. Show them a Paladin who can be a team player, instead of a team nanny. #NotAllPaladins
    3. Bad DMs: Talk to them. Singling out a class for abuse is just harsh. Yeah, the Paladin's sense of morality should mean something, but not to the extent that every encounter must be designed to punish him. If the rest of the party is willing to have a Paladin along, the DM shouldn't penalize them through him.

    Notice a pattern? The big issues with Paladins can be addressed by talking to people, not by changing or adding rules.

    That said, there is one thing that can and ought to be fixed - the Paladin's Code of Conduct. This varies between different systems, but at least in D&D, it generally acts as a substantial straitjacket that seems to contradict the Paladin's intended purpose. Allow Paladins to interact with low-level Evil without penalizing them. Get rid of auto-fall scenarios. Allow a Paladin to attempt redemption of his less-than-LG companions, rather than his smite-or-abandon options. Make the Code both more flexible and more personal, as others have suggested. Other classes have few or no RP requirements for the class; mechanical ones are sufficient. The Paladin is one of very few that has an RP requirement coded in; lose or loosen it.

    The rest? Just talk to people.
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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    Quote Originally Posted by eru001 View Post
    So a common problem in gaming is that of the paladin.

    In theory, a paladin is supposed to be a stalwart defender of law and good, and has some degree of responsibility to keep the party's less morally reputable members in check (lest by associating with an evil party the paladin fall and lose all their powers).

    In practice, paladins are often the annoying goody two shoes character, and have a tendency towards forcing the rest of the party into very narrow plots and limiting a lot of freedoms for the other players.

    Some of the blame for this falls on poor playing
    Some of it on poor DMing.

    How can this be fixed? Are there alterations that could be made to the class to better encourage players to act like Ochul (who is an example that I'm reasonably certain, for some reason, everyone on this forum is familiar with, and is what I believe a paladin should be.) and discourage the much less fun for everybody Miko-esque (a similarly familiar bad example) behavior?
    Well, there's the 5e paladin, which comes in three variants, only one of which is "Paladin Classic," and even then isn't so strict about the code--a paladin violating one of the tenets of their oath unintentionally doesn't lose their powers, and it takes breaking the oath intentionally and showing no sign of repentance to end up in the Oathbreaker subclass (which is a solid subclass, if you want to go evil).

    The 5e variants of the code of conduct are:

    Oath of Devotion: Paladin classic. Knight in shining armor and all that jazz. The tenets of this oath are Honesty, Courage, Compassion, Honor, and Duty. Don't lie or cheat; don't be afraid to act (although, as the PHB says, caution is prudent and not the same as cowardice); aid others, protect the weak, and show mercy to foes (but, the PHB says, be smart about it); treat others fairly and do as much good as possible while causing the least amount of harm; and be responsible for your actions and consequences, protect those entrusted to your care, and obey the orders of those who have just authority over you (unjust authority need not be obeyed).

    Oath of the Ancients: These are paladins of life and culture, not ideals of truth and justice. The "green knights." Focuses on Good above Law or Chaos. The tenets of this oath are Kindle the Light, Shelter the Light, Preserve Your Own Light, and Be the Light. Through acts of mercy, kindness, and forgiveness, kindle hope and drive back despair; preserve places where life flourishes against forces that would render them barren, and preserve beauty, love, and laughter against forces of tyranny or cruelty; live and revel in art, beauty, joy, and laughter yourself, in order that you might preserve them in the world; and live as an example or inspiration for others.

    Oath of Vengeance: You have a very special set of skills, and you're going to use them to hurt people who have it coming. That's it. None of that goody-two-shoes or happy dancing flower-child crap. Your job is to bring Justice (which is what you named your greatsword) down upon your enemies. The tenets of this oath are Fight the Greater Evil, No Mercy for the Wicked, By Any Means Necessary, and Restitution. When facing a choice between fighting your sworn enemies or a lesser evil, fight your sworn enemies (and there may be times your sworn enemies are the lesser evil); ordinary foes may or may not receive mercy, but your sworn foes never will; do not allow personal qualms to get in the way of killing your sworn enemies; and help those your enemies have harmed.

    EDIT: Thus far, in the various 5e groups I've been a player in for home games or Adventurers' League, the reaction to someone saying "I'm playing a Paladin" has been positive every time--a well-armored frontliner who can heal people, buff allies / debuff enemies, and do fantastic damage. Nobody's been worried much about the Oath (other than which oath, since they go with mechanically-different subclasses), or the paladin trying to force everyone else to adhere to it.
    Last edited by JAL_1138; 2016-04-25 at 01:09 PM.
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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    Quote Originally Posted by JAL_1138 View Post
    the reaction to someone saying "I'm playing a Paladin" has been positive every time--a well-armored frontliner who can heal people, buff allies / debuff enemies, and do fantastic damage. Nobody's been worried much about the Oath (other than which oath, since they go with mechanically-different subclasses), or the paladin trying to force everyone else to adhere to it.
    Suppose someone comes in and says "but that defeats the point of a Paladin! A Paladin isn't about the smites or buffs, but adherence to a holy code despite all the difficulties and temptations to stray away from it!"

    "Talk to the X" isn't good enough on its own. Talk about what? Exactly what issues are to be addressed? What we want now, are guidelines (not mechanical rules) on how to RP a Paladin that fits the above paragraph, and still have players happily coming back to RP with said Paladin.

    Come to think of it, in such a case, some amount of "Paladin stops party from doing action" might even be necessary. If the point of the Paladin is to see how the Paladin and other part members resolve their differences, friction would have to be there.

    That leads to one thing: that the entire group (all the players and GM, OOCly) have agreed to not only play out such IC friction, but also keep that friction IC. It'll also take a tightly-bonded group of friends who understand one another well. It's not for everyone.
    Last edited by goto124; 2016-04-26 at 01:34 AM.

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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    1. The DM/Playing problem is that most people consider it the end of the world if a paladin falls. But the mechanic of falling exists as a way to help create story arcs about paladins. Rather than being totally averse to the fall (Players absolutely refusing anything remotely fall-worthy, and making the game stupid with moral and metaphysical debates/ DM's allowing players to get away with murder and not fall due to said moral and metaphysical debates) people should embrace the fact that living up to the paladin code is hard, and sometimes the story is more compelling when you fall. Hell, have the paladin fall and then be redeemed, if you want.

    Consider Cu Chulainn. Dude's "code" was that he couldn't eat dog meat. And then he eats dog meat due to some machinations, and he dies because of its resulting "fall." But the point of the story isn't that Cu Chulainn was some kind of idiot for having eaten the dog meat, the point of the story is that he had a situation where he must break the taboo. The point of the story is about the irresistible nature of fate, the elusiveness of invulnerability, the way great men can be laid low. There are some great stories that could be told through a paladin's fall.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cú_Chulainn

    2. If it would be acceptable to fall, then Falling should not make the game mechanically unfun. For that to work... well, you'd want to be playing your paladin in a system other than DnD 3.5 or Pathfinder, I suppose.
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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    The problem isn't the paladin, the problem is that there is one player who wants to play a paladin and another who wants to play something that is antagonistic to the paladin and they're not willing to compromise.
    It would be like having a wizard on the team while also having a barbarian who's hobby it is to destroy all magic objects and burn books. It's just not gonna work out.

    What needs to happen is the players need to make their characters together and collaborate to make sure there won't be any natural enemies.
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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    Quote Originally Posted by eru001 View Post
    In theory, a paladin is supposed to be a stalwart defender of law and good, and has some degree of responsibility to keep the party's less morally reputable members in check (lest by associating with an evil party the paladin fall and lose all their powers).
    The idea that the paladin is somehow responsible for keeping other party members in check, is the main problem.

    A paladin character doesn't have any authority over the rest of the party. He is not the default leader. He can make suggestions like veryone else and not partake in some actions like everyone else, but that's it. Everything else is not possible for a party of equal adventurers, who, through distincly different abilities and wordviews cancel out each others weaknesses. The idea that the paladin should somehow "police" the party goes against the core assumption what a party actually is.
    Yes, somewhere in the early editions you can find the assumption that a party has a leader/speaker and then secondary party members. But that got abandoned for good reasons.



    The only mechanical change that is necessary for 3.x-paladins is getting rid of the "associate with evil"-clause which makes certain party compositions literally impossible rulewise and is dumb anyway. 5 doesn' have this clause. The rest is change of expectations.



    Maybe an aura of justice and guilt that automatically buffs anyone near the paladin who tries to follow the example of good behaviour but the bonus turns into a penalty if you commit an evil act. Instead of the other PCs just using the paladin for his "lay on hands" healing and then making him look like an idiot by distracting him every time they want to lie, steal, or torture somebody, they'll actually try to be better people and feel bad about it when they slip up (morale bonus and penalty). If they do something bad, don't blame the paladin for it and take away his powers. The other PCs should have a reason to want the paladin around other than "he's another PC so we have to have him in the party because Larry wants to play another stupid paladin".
    Bad idea.

    That is a mechanical incentive for every other character in the group to abandon his own moral code and his own motivations and follow the paladins instead. So other players now have to decide to either playing their characters according true to their concepts and how they envisioned them or to get mechanical benefits that helps the party to achieve their goals.

    I can't really think of a scenario where this kind of rule is actually helpful. Outside of theme parties where every characters shares the same moral code anyway.

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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    If I could work my will, I'd make two purely-mechanical changes to the D&D paladin class. (Well, three, because the Code of Conduct is beyond stupid and needs to be trampled by a stampede of giant slugs, but that's already been covered upthread. Here are two more suggestions.)

    One: paladin should not be a base class. It's a prestige class, available by invitation only to people who, in the eyes of some competent authority, have proved themselves worthy to take it. This means that the PC has to go through an extended "audition" before they get the funky powers, immunities and whatnot. It would dramatically improve the chances that the PC and DM are on the same page as to how the paladin is supposed to behave.

    Two: a paladin's defining characteristic is not "goodness", or "lawful goodness" or any such subjective trickery. It's "loyalty". A paladin's powers derive from the implicit trust of their patron - that they will, at all times and in all circumstances, no matter what the cost, put their patron's interests first. This clarifies the "lawful" part of their alignment: it's nothing to do with "laws", it's about being utterly consistent and trustworthy. "Falling" means breaking that trust.
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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    Quote Originally Posted by goto124 View Post
    Suppose someone comes in and says "but that defeats the point of a Paladin! A Paladin isn't about the smites or buffs, but adherence to a holy code despite all the difficulties and temptations to stray away from it!"

    "Talk to the X" isn't good enough on its own. Talk about what? Exactly what issues are to be addressed? What we want now, are guidelines (not mechanical rules) on how to RP a Paladin that fits the above paragraph, and still have players happily coming back to RP with said Paladin.

    Come to think of it, in such a case, some amount of "Paladin stops party from doing action" might even be necessary. If the point of the Paladin is to see how the Paladin and other part members resolve their differences, friction would have to be there.

    That leads to one thing: that the entire group (all the players and GM, OOCly) have agreed to not only play out such IC friction, but also keep that friction IC. It'll also take a tightly-bonded group of friends who understand one another well. It's not for everyone.
    I wasn't clear on this point, which is my error--what I meant was, the Oaths in the games I've been in have been working as RP guidelines that shape character behavior (and provide some potential for drama, as situations arise where that code is tested or straying from it is tempting), but don't make other people groan and worry about the stereotypical "lawful good jerk" forcing the party to behave.
    So instead of "Ah, crud, we've got to put up with the Code of Conduct" we go "Ah, a [knight-in-shining-armor / Green Knight / The Punisher] type...who can do X, Y, and Z awesome things for the party." The negative connotations are largely gone. By "nobody's been worried about the Oath," I mean that nobody's been worried about the Oath negatively impacting the game due to the Paladin being encouraged to be a Miko type, not that it's irrelevant as an RP issue.

    Probably the biggest help has been losing the "don't associate with certain people" thing, and making it more clear that it should take a more than just one screwup or one no-win scenario of choosing the lesser of two evils to make a Paladin fall. Paladin players aren't constantly paranoid that one slip will make them drop into being a crappy version of a Fighter permanently or until they do some annoying penance or other, and so they aren't as prone to try and make the party act a certain way to preserve their class features.

    So, that seems to fit some of the criteria for how to encourage RP, and keep aspects of the "code of behavior" for story and drama, without the strong tendency toward making them a PitA to have in the party.
    Last edited by JAL_1138; 2016-04-26 at 06:50 AM.
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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    You speak of different groups' reactions. This implies a game convention style where strangers play with other strangers on a regular basis.

    When RPing with strangers who don't know you well, I can see why loosening up on the RP restrictions can help a lot.

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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    The root of the problem is that playing a character with a strong, defining conviction and adherence to a code isn't easy. Not everyone can handle it without becoming overbearing and infringing on others' role-playing. The paladin's code isn't much different from any other, here. Maybe even easier than most, really.

    The problem was then exacerbated, however, when someone got the terrific idea to write an entire class around a single philosophy, and enshrine its code of conduct in the rules - making it overly specific in some places, while being vague in others. And then it tied the party's behaviour to it as well. Some situations were explicitly referred to as causing the paladin to lose all their powers, thus encouraging the "does the paladin fall from grace from that?" song and dance we all know and "love". The result is that we have an entire core class that brings role-playing considerations no other does.

    I think there would be a lot less of a fuss if "Paladin", as in the specific kind of Lawful Good holy warrior with a strict code of conduct, wasn't a class, but a class-agnostic oath anyone whose morality aligns with it can take. That option would come with a caveat that it won't fit into every group - just like any such rigid philosophy.
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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    Part of this isn't the Paladin's fault; part of it is the LG alignment itself. There's a faulty playstyle assumption that your LG fighter is by definition more moral, virtuous, and all around 'good' than my CG Barbarian, while the truth of the matter is that, while he certainly can be, it by definition only means he's more lawful.
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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    Personally, I always saw the 3.5 paladin as something of an outsider from the other divine classes. I don't think it really belongs to the D&D cosmology. The fact that it is an Arthurian (or maybe I should say, Carolingian) knight always gave me the feeling that it had a much different flavour from a cleric of SomeSuch. Of course, this may be just a personal opinion, or the fact that I forgot the part in which it is described that paladins get powers from a certain deity, which I really do not remember, in spite of having divine this and divine that.

    I agree on the fact that it would be better if it weren't a class. Personally, I'd like a game in which you have some standard classes on which you can slap some sort of "secondary class" implement, which you can change during the game and is setting-bound. So you have a fighter who wants to protect the weak and so on. He swears and the Powers Of Good bestow upon him a benediction which gives him the Paladin traits, whatever they are. You have a fighter who wants to discover the power of mechanics. He undergoes training at a special institution and he gets the secondary class of "Mechanimer". A Wizard wants to be a paladin? That should work, too. I never understood why, in a world were power isn't raw physical strength, you need to whack people in the head to be a paladin.

    So, "paladin" would be some sort of template to add to you character, and people who don't want to be paladins could choose among many other alternatives.
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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Start with this. You're asking for a mechanical incentive in response to either an RPing failure or a DMing failure, and that just doesn't fly.
    Rulebooks contain more than just mechanics though. They also contain guidelines, examples, and flavor text to help both the players and GM get a better idea of how something is intended to work. Those first two in particular are intended to have at or close to the weight of law, and good design requires both.

    Put another way - yes of course, bad DMing or bad playing are problems the rules can't solve. But I'd wager that the percentage of people who pick up a rulebook and say "I can't wait to completely pervert the obvious intent of this!" is pretty low. If a significant number of people are approaching paladins badly, then the design of the class (or the surrounding trappings, like the alignment system) can be at fault.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    How to play a Paladin 1:
    When your group is making new characters, or you're making a new character, tell them "hey, I think I wanna try a Paladin for my new character". If you game with relatively decent people, they will either say it might be a problem because someone is already playing Evil or "I'm not Evil, I'm Chaotic Neutral", or say "cool, bro, I'll save my idea for an Evil character for the next adventure then". <--- This is how some of my groups have done it almost every time, and it's worked out fine. The Paladin doesn't get on everyone's back, and the others don't make it impossible for the Paladin to find it logical to stay with the group.


    How to play a Paladin 2:
    Speak with the GM about a Code of Conduct that better suits your Paladin and the religion/culture they come from. One GM wrote up two different Codes of Conduct for two of our Paladin characters, one an Elven Paladin of Corellon, and another a Dwarven Paladin of Moradin. Understandably, the two have very different values and dogmas.
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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    Quote Originally Posted by eru001 View Post
    How can this be fixed? Are there alterations that could be made to the class to better encourage players to act like Ochul (who is an example that I'm reasonably certain, for some reason, everyone on this forum is familiar with, and is what I believe a paladin should be.) and discourage the much less fun for everybody Miko-esque (a similarly familiar bad example) behavior?
    Talk to the paladin player. Set expectations. Use the rules to guide those - specifically, use Falling as a consequence for Miko-like behavior rather than a bludgeon to set up "oh so clever" paladin dilemmas.

    But talk to them. Make it clear what being a paladin is, and with specific examples.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xuc Xac View Post
    I would get rid of the "can't associate with evil characters" rule and make it more explicitly "can't do evil just because your friends are doing evil". How are you supposed to redeem anyone if you don't spend any time around them and show them a better way? And give that shining example a mechanical effect.
    Association rules are great in open-table games, and are freakin' terrible with "the one true party".

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    The rest? Just talk to people.
    This is, of course, the most important bit.

    The rest - a Paladin should be *Good*. With a freakin' capital G. That doesn't mean "smite evil". It means that they should be all about self-sacrifice and helping others, even those that are Evil. They'll defend others, sure, but slaying Evil is less of a victory than turning Evil to Good.

    I mean, seriously, read the Dresden Files, and use any of the Knights of the Cross as your example. Do they follow very paladin-like codes? Sure. And they often use that fact to their advantage.

    And the best way for a paladin to change others? By example. Be so good that others can't help but go "I wanna be like that."

    The other thing - make sure that it makes sense for the party to work together. Talk to the players, and make sure everyone is on the same page for what the game is going to be. If everybody wants to do a "let the demons go for a walk" campaign, and one dude wants to play a paladin, that ain't gonna work, any more than the opposite would.

    So make sure everyone's on the same page. If you see potential issues between characters, talk about it, as players, up front and make sure everyone's got reasonable expectations.

    I mean, it's not hard, so long as you don't play alignments like personality disorders. The Evil guy doesn't have to twirl his moustache constantly and do sadistic things for giggles - in fact, they should be smart enough to recognize the value of having a paladin around, and weigh that into their decisions. Similarly, a paladin should recognize that (barring association rules), sticking around non-good characters is a chance to lead by example and possibly change them, which is a great win for the forces of Good.
    Last edited by kyoryu; 2016-04-26 at 06:19 PM.

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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    The only players I have that decide to play paladins know that there are less and more antagonistic ways of doing it. For some players, I assume that they will have their own code of conduct for their character, and it will be fairly alright. I generally don't make people fall, but murder without cause is a good indicator. If the character is in a position to fall, usually it is through the player's choice, and that's the route they want their characters to take. If not, they more than likely won't fall at my table, because the only ones who play paladins like trying to be as righteous as possible, and their characters are still mortal and have to make choices based on their own intuition.

    There's nothing wrong with the concept, and in my opinion people should make their own codes, or strive for what ideals they decide on. Basically, the DM and the players have to trust each other to not be annoying about it.

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    frown Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    Well, isn't this a surprise to see.
    And now I have quite a few words to say, and it's hard to say them.
    Quite a few of these posts give me hope,
    and more than a few are giving me a coronary.
    I'm here to say what a Paladin isn't. What i'm not.

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    I'm not here to tell you what to do,
    I'm not here to let you do horrible things,

    I'm not here to make you not do them,
    i'm not here to bend you to my will,
    i'm not here to succumb to yours,

    I'm not here to tell you what to do,
    nor am I here to be told what to do.

    I'm not here to sacrifice myself,
    nor am I here to just let others die if I can save them.

    I am me, not you.
    I'm not what you want, when you want it,
    be it avenger or be it human shield with medicine.
    I am me,
    and that comes with all the little complications of being a human being.

    Good doesn't work with evil.
    Evil doesn't work with good. No in-between,
    and no grey. (Just white that's gotten grubby.)

    Look, I won't say what a paladin is. But I will state my namesake's story on here.
    I'm tired of the conflict, differences of opinion, and even those just who think this is about game mechanics!
    Let me tell you the story of Jev the paladin,
    and you can choose for yourselves.

    Thank you for reading this,
    And I apologize for sounding like a young emo female.
    I'm just dead tired of this issue.
    {Edit:} SirBellias, I couldn't agree more.
    Last edited by IntelectPaladin; 2016-04-26 at 07:33 PM.

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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    I do find it somewhat interesting that this is never called "The Assassin Problem".

    Just weird that you get two players with very different ideas on what should be done, and neither of them willing to budge... and yet it's always the players of *one* particular class that gets the finger pointed at them.

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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    I was thinking, I like the idea of the paladin and all that but there are problems with the image D&D tries to encode, or perhaps the encoding itself. I agree that making them more flexible would defiantly help. Actually one of my favorite paladin originations was a wandering coalition of Chaotic Good fist fighters who resolved internal disputes by punching each other. And yet they still came off like paladins.

    How? I thought about it and the one thing for me that connected all the paladin characters I know. The best way I can describe it is "power source". Fighters draw power from there strength & training, Barbarians from rage, wizards from knowledge, clerics from faith, bards from music & charm, rogues from their tricks. A paladin draws strength directly from their will to do good.

    Sure all heroes do this from time to time, but it is the primary source for paladins. Take that moment were the loved one's voice reaches the hero, it doesn't seem to happen as often for paladins. I think it is because the paladin already knows and has already stood back up.

    Maybe that isn't quite the perfect way to describe it but it seems to fit.

    To kyoryu: I believe "the Assassin Problem" aka "the Rogue Problem" aka excessive backstabbing is a different issue.

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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    Quote Originally Posted by IntelectPaladin View Post
    {Edit:} SirBellias, I couldn't agree more.
    Always good to be in accord with a fellow of honor.

    Cluedrew makes some good points. Flexibility written into the flavor and presentation would make them much more palatable to those who balk the harsher rules as they stand. A concept written and presented as following convictions that may form a code would be much more versatile than one based on following a code to wall you into convictions. Putting the reason, or "power source," first would be a better way of handling their position and do wonders for their reputation, I feel.

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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    To kyoryu: I believe "the Assassin Problem" aka "the Rogue Problem" aka excessive backstabbing is a different issue.
    Why?

    Again, the Paladin problem is about one player insisting things be done a certain way. And while I agree that that's a crappy way to play Paladins, it takes *two* people to have that argument. It takes *two* folks insisting that they get their way, not one.

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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    For all of my homebrew classes and in any game I run, Paladins don't fall. Instead, they periodically get outsiders turning up offering atonement or temptation as appropriate. If they've been murdering people, they get angels turning up asking them to repent and disguised demons offering unholy swords*. If they fall into indolence, they get Hound Archons giving inspirational speeches on discipline and Lilliends offering wine and music. And so on and so forth.

    *If they accept the sword, it comes out of their WBL; I adjust treasure to match whatever they pick.

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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    For my money, the easiest fix for paladins is to make it a class that can only be earned in game a la prestige class. And you can't have paladin levels before the game starts. Why? Because it forces the DM and the player to communicate their expectations of the class and how to make them work.

    Then again, paladins aren't typically on the whitelist for my games. It's not like they're so different from say a cleric of Heironeous with a martial weapon proficiency in oh, let's say greatsword. Still have a code of conduct, can still play a shining paragon of virtue, just without some of the class features like a special mount or the charisma bonus to saves in 3.P.
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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Xuc Xac View Post
    In general, you can't fix those with rules. A few changes to the class might help good players and GMs avoid slipping, though. Too many seem to take it as a challenge to make the paladin fall. If the rest of the party accepts a paladin at all, then they should want him in the party and not just tolerate him.
    Something that gets missed a lot is that paladins tend to have high charisma. They are supposed to be likeable, attractive, and good leaders. Rather than forcing the party to do good, they should be inspiring and leading them to do it. The paladin might be the very reason they are together as a party!

    Unless the person playing the paladin is a very good actor, this requires a certain amount of buy-in from the other players. However, it could also be represented mechanically, particularly by combining the role of paladin and bard. IMO the paladin should be able to Inspire Greatness, demoralise enemies, or other such enhancements that help out the whole group. (I know they have Aura of Courage, but protection from fear effects is situational at best.)

    As for "associating with evil" - yeah that's a silly rule. It restricts the alignment choices of the rest of the party, not to mention being near impossible in practice. Just ignore it.

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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    Quote Originally Posted by JAL_1138 View Post
    The 5e variants of the code of conduct are:

    Oath of Devotion: Paladin classic. Knight in shining armor and all that jazz. The tenets of this oath are Honesty, Courage, Compassion, Honor, and Duty. Don't lie or cheat; don't be afraid to act (although, as the PHB says, caution is prudent and not the same as cowardice); aid others, protect the weak, and show mercy to foes (but, the PHB says, be smart about it); treat others fairly and do as much good as possible while causing the least amount of harm; and be responsible for your actions and consequences, protect those entrusted to your care, and obey the orders of those who have just authority over you (unjust authority need not be obeyed).

    Oath of the Ancients: These are paladins of life and culture, not ideals of truth and justice. The "green knights." Focuses on Good above Law or Chaos. The tenets of this oath are Kindle the Light, Shelter the Light, Preserve Your Own Light, and Be the Light. Through acts of mercy, kindness, and forgiveness, kindle hope and drive back despair; preserve places where life flourishes against forces that would render them barren, and preserve beauty, love, and laughter against forces of tyranny or cruelty; live and revel in art, beauty, joy, and laughter yourself, in order that you might preserve them in the world; and live as an example or inspiration for others.

    Oath of Vengeance: You have a very special set of skills, and you're going to use them to hurt people who have it coming. That's it. None of that goody-two-shoes or happy dancing flower-child crap. Your job is to bring Justice (which is what you named your greatsword) down upon your enemies. The tenets of this oath are Fight the Greater Evil, No Mercy for the Wicked, By Any Means Necessary, and Restitution. When facing a choice between fighting your sworn enemies or a lesser evil, fight your sworn enemies (and there may be times your sworn enemies are the lesser evil); ordinary foes may or may not receive mercy, but your sworn foes never will; do not allow personal qualms to get in the way of killing your sworn enemies; and help those your enemies have harmed.
    I love the Paladin 5e Oaths, and I'm considering a Folk Hero spear-using Paladin for my next character (torn between Devotion and Vengeance at the moment). They really came through there, although the Oath of the Ancients isn't for me personally I still appreciate that it lets some people play the Paladin they want.

    Compare this to 4e where I liked the mechanics but hated how they handled the morality of the class, turning it into a boring 'divine knight).

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    I do find it somewhat interesting that this is never called "The Assassin Problem".

    Just weird that you get two players with very different ideas on what should be done, and neither of them willing to budge... and yet it's always the players of *one* particular class that gets the finger pointed at them.
    To me the 'Assassin Probl Problem' is that there's always someone who wants to play one, but interprets it more as 'Assassin's Creed acrobatics and killing everyone who sees me' rather than actually attempting to play it cleverly (although the first game I saw an assassin character in they worked really well, with the big guy sneaking on ledges and hiding in shadows to grapple opponents [it was justified in-character as well, he believed his opponent should die with honour] or engage them in combat while the other one took up a sniping position or kept the other guys surprised). It always goes the same way, with the assassin just being an acrobatic warrior.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
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    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    And while I agree that that's a crappy way to play Paladins, it takes *two* people to have that argument. It takes *two* folks insisting that they get their way, not one.
    If a Paladin player insists on one mode of action and everyone else follows along because they don't want arguments, does another person deciding to stand up automatically become the bad person?

    I suppose this would depend on details such as what sort of actions the Paladin player had been doing, whether the other group members were having fun following the paladin leader, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    but interprets it more as 'Assassin's Creed acrobatics and killing everyone who sees me' rather than actually attempting to play it cleverly
    "So you're playing an assassin... which kind of assassin?"

    By the way, could this be a fault of the system as well? Depending on the system?
    Last edited by goto124; 2016-04-27 at 08:20 AM.

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    Default Re: Paladins, How to fix/are fixes needed

    Quote Originally Posted by goto124 View Post
    If a Paladin player insists on one mode of action and everyone else follows along because they don't want arguments, does another person deciding to stand up automatically become the bad person?
    No, but it means that there's at least two parts of the problem that should be addressed, not one.

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